AKRON, Ohio – Family and friends of Rachel DeMaio believe the sentence given to the man who sold her drugs just before her death in 2016 does not send a significant enough message to keep the same thing from happening again.
DeMaio died in October 2016 after using heroin that had been mixed with carfentanyl.
The next day, police in her hometown of Cuyahoga Falls set up a sting to lure Jamarr King, a man who had sold her drugs on seven separate occasions, to her house where he was arrested.
Earlier this year King pleaded guilty to eight charges related to the sale of drugs. Prosecutors say proving he sold the drugs that actually killed DeMaio would have been difficult, so they dropped all of the charges related to DeMaio’s death.
On Friday, DeMaio’s mother Cindy, along with a group of supporters demonstrated outside of the Summit County Courthouse in advance of King’s sentencing advocating for harsher penalties for drug dealers.
“I’ve been waiting for this day. He’s been out on the street while my family and all her friends have been devastated. It’s been a nightmare. My daughter was beautiful, she was a volleyball star she was the light of my life,” said Cindy DeMaio.
“I just want justice for my daughter she did not deserve to die from a drug dealer bringing carfentanyl to my apartment.”
At his sentencing, King did not address the court. King’s attorney said he felt he was helping a friend. Following passionate statements from DeMaio’s parents, Judge Paul Gallagher passed a sentence sending King to prison for a total of three years.
The sentence far too little for Cindy DeMaio who has not only advocated for harsher penalties for drug dealers but has kept her daughter’s memory alive through an organization called Rachel’s Angels.
Rachel’s father told the court that while King will return to the streets and to his family and friends after his release from prison, his daughter will no longer be with hers. But he also understands that the court did what it could do given the charges to which King pleaded guilty, and said he has no choice but to go forward.
DeMaio’s family hopes using Rachel’s Angels to visit schools and speak to teenagers about what they have lost will prevent others from experimenting with dangerous drugs.