October 4, 2019
In October of 2013, Eric Sinacori was a 20-year-old junior at UMass-Amherst, when he died from a heroin overdose. Jesse Carrillo, a grad student, had provided Sinacori with the heroin. He was ultimately convicted of involuntary manslaughter and distribution of heroin.
Yesterday, Massachusetts’ Supreme Judicial Court reversed the involuntary manslaughter conviction.
In so doing, the court ruled that a defendant can only be convicted of involuntary manslaughter of his conduct creates “a high degree of likelihood that substantial harm will result to another.” The mere possibility, the court wrote, that the transfer of heroin will result in an overdose does not suffice to meet the standard. Rather, to prove its case, prosecutors must “introduce evidence showing that, considering the totality of the particular circumstances, the defendant knew or should have known that his or her conduct created a high degree of likelihood of substantial harm, such as an overdose or death.”