LJ World: Lawrence man pleads no contest in fentanyl case that led to 18-year-old’s death

A Lawrence man pleaded no contest on Tuesday in Douglas County District Court in a fentanyl distribution case that resulted in a teenager’s death.

The man, Logan Hastie Morgan, 23, was convicted of one felony count of attempted distribution of a controlled substance causing death. As part of Morgan’s plea agreement, the state dismissed two felony counts of distributing a controlled substance leading to great bodily harm and one felony count of possession of a controlled substance.

The attempted distribution causing death charge relates to an incident on Aug. 28, 2021, when emergency crews were called around 12:15 p.m. to the 3300 block of Westridge Court in Lawrence, as the Journal-World previously reported.

A Lawrence teen, Mohamadi “MJ” Tompson Issa Jr., 18, who lived in the area, died that day. His mother is listed as a witness in the charging documents filed against Morgan.

Issa was on the varsity football team for Lawrence High School his freshman and sophomore years and on the Free State High School varsity team his junior and senior years, according to his obituary.

Issa’s autopsy report from the Douglas County coroner’s office indicates that he died from an overdose of fentanyl.

The distribution causing great harm charges relate to incidents on May 31, 2021, and July 23, 2021. The charging documents were not clear as to who the alleged victims were in those instances. The possession charge is listed as occurring between May 31, 2021, and Aug. 28, 2021.

The charge that Morgan, who was represented by attorney Adam Zentner, pleaded to Tuesday is a level-three felony, which is a lower-severity felony than Morgan was originally charged with. Judge Amy Hanley said during Morgan’s hearing that he could face between 55 and 247 months, or 4.5 to 20.5 years, in prison. Hanley added that the level of charge that Morgan pleaded to means presumptive prison, and he is not eligible for probation.

Logan Hastie Morgan, right, stands next to his defense attorney, Adam Zentner, while Judge Amy Hanley explains Morgan’s possible prison sentence during a plea hearing on Feb. 21, 2023. Hanley said Morgan faces a minimum of 55 months in prison.

Senior Assistant District Attorney David Greenwald said that Morgan, as part of his plea deal, agreed to testify against two other people who are charged with distributing drugs that caused a death.

Chloe Lyn Colby, 21, is charged with one count of distribution of a controlled substance causing death. The charge relates to an incident on April 17, 2021, when she is alleged to have provided counterfeit Oxycodone to her boyfriend, Kendall Royce Stiffler, 21, of Lawrence, who, after taking the drugs, died of fentanyl intoxication. Colby is next scheduled to appear in court on March 3 for a case management hearing.

Benjamin L. Mims, 38, of Lawrence, recently had charges dismissed against him but the state said it planned to refile those charges. He was facing one felony count of distribution of a controlled substance causing death, three felony counts of distribution of a controlled substance causing great bodily harm and one felony count of possession of more than 100 doses of Oxycodone, according to charging documents. Charges had not been refiled against Mims as of Tuesday afternoon.

As part of Morgan’s agreement, he will be required to register as a violent offender for 15 years. Morgan is scheduled to be sentenced on May 25. He is currently out of custody on a $100,000 own-recognizance bond, meaning he did not have to put any money down to be released from jail but may be charged that amount if he fails to appear for court.

Read the original article here.

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