Elation is a word that could easily apply to how Jane Ann Getty felt when District Judge Al Kacin dropped the second degree murder charge against Getty in the death of her son.
Last October, Quentin Amas, Getty’s 18-year old son complained of a toothache. Getty gave him some prescription painkillers, but it wasn’t enough. Because of his prior drug use, Amas had developed a tolerance for pain medication. After hinting that he needed something stronger, Getty gave her son $50. Amas gave the money to Bryan Herrera, 23, who bought black tar heroin from Rodney Tyler Draney, 24. Both Herrera and Draney are from Elko.
The next morning, Getty found her son dead, from an apparent overdose. Getty was later arrested for second degree murder because she gave her son the cash to allegedly buy drugs. Getty was held on more than a $270 thousand bond and remained in jail until being set free by Judge Kacin. Prior to dismissal Getty pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the Uniform Controlled Substance act.
Draney and Herrera were also charged with second-degree murder, acting as a principal to the sale of a controlled substance, and conspiracy to violate the Uniform Controlled Substance Act.
Under Nevada law, second-degree murder results from intense anger, fear, rage, terror, or passion. It differs from first degree murder because the killing is not intentional, premeditated, or vicious. Conspiracy to violate the Uniform Controlled Substance Act occurs when a person or persons conspire to commit an offense which is a felony under the Uniform Controlled Substances Act or conspire to defraud the State of Nevada or an agency of the State in connection with its enforcement of the Uniform Controlled Substances Act, and one of the conspirators does an act in furtherance of the conspiracy. It is a gross misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of no more than $2 thousand.
All three defendants had argued they were not guilty of second degree murder because they were not the only people who visited Amas with drugs. As such, the state could not prove that the black tar heroin tied to Getty’s $50 alone caused the overdose.
In dropping the second degree murder charge against Getty, Judge Kacin said that though there was enough evidence to suggest Armas overdosed on black tar heroin supplied by Herrera and Draney, there was not enough evidence to bind over Getty. “A drug purchaser cannot be a drug seller in a single drug transaction. For that simple reason, Petitioner Jane Ann Getty is entitled to habeas relief,” in the charge of acting as a principal to the sale of a controlled substance.”
Getty agreed to plead guilty to the conspiracy charge after the district attorney agreed not to appeal the habeas relief. Herrera and Draney pled guilty to lesser charges of involuntary manslaughter and conspiracy to violate the Uniform Controlled Substance Act.
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