SIDNEY — The woman charged with involuntary manslaughter in the drug-related death of a Sidney man took the plea agreement offered by prosecutors, Friday, in Shelby County Common Pleas Court.
She now faces up to three years in prison and a $10,000 fine, when sentenced.
Kayla D. Hewitt, 33, incarcerated, pleaded guilty to an amended charge of reckless homicide, a third-degree felony, in the Aug. 5 drug overdose death of David Lee Slagle. Sidney attorney Ralph Bauer represented her.
Shelby County Prosecutor Tim Sell said in exchange for the guilty plea, a myriad of charges spread throughout three cases pending against Hewitt would be dropped.
Following the hearing, Sell explained that involuntary manslaughter is a first-degree felony, which is when a person’s criminal act leads to the death of another. In this case, Hewitt’s sale of the drugs to Slagle is the crime.
Sell added that reckless homicide, a third-degree felony, is when a person’s behavior causes the death of another.
Judge James Stevenson declared her guilty and said that he could impose a sentence of a maximum of 36 months with the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. No date has been set for her sentencing.
Stevenson asked Hewitt what she did to be charged with the crime. Hewitt claimed Slagle was unknown to her. She met him in “another town,” when Slagle told her he was traveling through Ohio trying to get to North Carolina. She gave him a ride to Sidney.
Hewitt said Slagle first gave her drugs, but she gave him some back. She acknowledged that it was the drugs she gave back that led to his death a few hours later. He was found dead in a bathtub by Sidney authorities.
In addition to the manslaughter charge, she had also been charged with two counts of aggravated possession of drugs, and one count of possession of criminal tools, all fifth-degree felonies, in the same case. Those charges stemmed from a Feb. 6 drug-related arrest.
In a third case, Hewitt had been charged with aggravated possession of drugs and possession of criminal tools, both fifth-degree felonies. Those charges stemmed from an Aug. 7 drug-related arrest just two days after Slagle’s death.
On Nov. 16, the Shelby County Grand Jury indicted Hewitt. When she failed to appear for a court appearance, and authorities were unable to locate her, a warrant was issued for her arrest. On Dec. 17, Sidney Police arrested Hewitt, who was considered on the run from prosecution.
On Friday, Bauer asked that Hewitt’s $50,000 bond, a 10 percent cash or surety security, be lowered to better her chance to be released from custody.
Sell objected to the bond reduction because she remains a flight risk after fleeing from authorities for nearly a month. Bauer said when Hewitt read in the Sidney Daily News that she had been indicted, she fled.
Stevenson denied the request, indicating that she could still be a flight risk based on past behavior.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.