CHARDON, Ohio--For the first time in Geauga County, an alleged drug dealer will face charges in connection with another man’s death.
A grand jury indicted Chad Riffett, 37, of Chardon on charges of involuntary manslaughter, corrupting another with drugs and trafficking drugs.
Monday, Riffett was arraigned and pleaded not guilty.
Prosecutors said the victim, Russell King, Sr., 48, died from an acute intoxication of heroin, purchased from Riffett.
“The defendant purchased heroin from a supplier and then brought the heroin back and gave it to Mr. King,” said Jim Flaiz, Geauga County prosecutor.
The case has been especially troubling for many people in Chardon, because King was found February 27, 2014 on the second-year anniversary of the deadly shooting at Chardon High School.
King’s son, 17-year-old Russell King, Jr., was one of three students murdered by a fellow classmate, T.J. Lane.
Prosecuting Attorney Flaiz knows the families well and said that made the information difficult to hear, but he said he would be prosecuting the suspect regardless of the victim’s identity.
Flaiz said the county is taking the heroin epidemic very seriously and they hope this case sends a strong message to dealers. “If you traffic in this county and somebody dies, a drug traffic charge isn’t good enough," said Flaiz. “We’re going to hold you responsible for that death.”
Riffett's bond was set at $75,000.
However, he is currently locked up at the county jail on an unrelated OVI charge.