Man on trial in 2016 fentanyl-related death
An Atlantic County man is on trial for the drug-related death of a 27-year old man in 2016.
Daniel Parrish, 42, faces nine charges, including strict-liability homicide for allegedly selling the drugs that killed Joey Robinson.
Mike Reed testified Tuesday that he had been buying heroin from “D” for about two years.
On Nov. 29 and Dec. 6 of last year, he made two purchases that weren’t for him. Instead, he turned the bags marked “Head Games” over to Egg Harbor Township police as part of an investigation. In exchange, the confidential informant received a total of $100.
But when Reed returned to his alleged drug dealer’s Egg Harbor Township home on Dec. 10, there were no police trailing him. This time, he brought Robinson with him.
Reed said his friend had $20, and they got five bags of heroin. Back at Reed’s they each had one, and then Robinson took the rest with him.
Robinson went back to the Egg Harbor Township home he shared with his grandfather. His girlfriend, Alyssa Rahn, would find him around 11 p.m., after several texts and calls to him went unanswered.
He was on the floor in front of a chair, curled up in a fetal position, Rahn testified. In his arm was a needle.
Rahn didn’t know Robinson was an addict, she said. At first, she thought the needle was to treat his diabetes.
When paramedics arrived, he was already cold, EMT Matthew Marks testified.
“Rigamortis already was setting in,” he said.
Empty heroin folds had “Head Games” stamped on them with a skull. The same bags Reed had bought for police.
Three days later, Parrish was arrested, and 178 packets were found. They all had deadly fentanyl in them, Assistant Prosecutor Rick McKelvey told the jurors.
“Did you ask for fentanyl?” he asked Reed of the call he made to Parrish to set up the drug deal.
“No,” he replied. “I asked for heroin.”
Defense attorney Nellie Marquez asked Reed about how he got involved as a confidential informant.
While Reed said he had gotten in trouble, he said he cooperated because he wanted to clean things up.
Marquez also questioned an interview Reed gave about Robinson’s low threshhold for heroin and how he would often “nod out” after just one bag.
She also said that Reed first told investigators that Parrish sold “Head Game” a month before Robinson passed.
“I was mistaken,” he said.
“Your memory’s better now, correct?” she asked.
“Yes,” he replied.
The Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office has made a push to find those responsible for selling deadly drugs. The Drug Related Death Squad has charged 14 people since August 2017. Parrish was indicted that September.
He is the first to go to trial. Two others have pleaded, including Philip Eldred, who was sentenced to seven years in prison last week.
Jamal Campos pleaded guilty in May and is awaiting sentencing.