Saratoga man pleads to sale of Fentanyl, which led to teen's death

Saratoga County District Attorney James Murphy announced on Tuesday, Aug. 31, the conviction of James Slingerland, 34, of Victory Mills, of the crime of attempted criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree, a felony. The conviction stems from a May 2009 incident.

The plea stems from an incident when Slingerland sold Fentanyl patches which had been prescribed for his father for treatment of cancer, who at the time was in the hospital, according to information from Murphy's office. Fentanyl is a narcotic drug that is commonly prescribed in the form of a Duragesic patch which is absorbed through the skin. It is typically 80 times more powerful than morphine. The defendant's father has since died.

Slingerland admitted to selling the patches to an individual in Washington County, who then sold the patches to several teenagers, including Morgan Harrington, who chewed on the patch, which ultimately caused his death, according to information from Murphy's office. Harrington was 17 years old when he died May 24, 2009.

\The cause of death was determined to be acute Fentanyl intoxication. The criminal investigation then proceeded backward to determine the individual from who the decedent had obtained the Fentanyl. It was able to be tracked back to Mr. Slingerland, who was stealing the patches from his father, said Murphy in a statement. "Mr. Harrington was found to have chewed and sucked on the patch which delivered high doses of the Fentanyl directly into his stomach and absorbed into his system causing death. Police and prosecutors were unable to find direct proof that Mr. Slingerland intended to cause of the death of Mr. Harrington and therefore no additional charges were filed."

Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 29 and the court is expected impose a sentence of two years determinate in a state correctional facility plus one and 1/2 years of post release supervision, according to information from Murphy's office.""

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