WILMINGTON – A woman convicted in the death of Cody Hart has been sentenced to four years in prison.
DeLee Wampler, 53, of Wilmington pled guilty to one count of involuntary manslaughter in the first degree and one count of aggravated trafficking of drugs in the fourth degree.
Hart was pronounced dead April 9 at Clinton Memorial Hospital after using heroin. Hart was with Wampler and Daymon Haislip, 27, of Cincinnati, at a Michigan Avenue residence when Hart overdosed and stopped breathing, according to authorities.
Originally Wampler was charged with two counts of aggravated trafficking of drugs in the fourth degree, three counts of involuntary manslaughter in the first degree, one count of trafficking heroin in the second degree, one count of trafficking heroin in the fifth degree and one count of corrupting another with drugs in the second degree.
Six of the eight counts were dropped by the state in the plea bargain.
Even though Wampler was charged with four overall counts of trafficking and three were dropped, she was charged with one count because Wampler allegedly purchased the heroin that killed Hart.
“Trafficking can include giving,” said Clinton County Court of Common Pleas Judge John W. “Tim” Rudduck. “Either way, I just want to make clear … the drugs that caused the demise of Mr. Hart were ultimately provided to him by this woman.”
Hart’s parents, Mike and Virginia, were present at the sentencing and spoke to the court. While Hart’s father did not address Wampler, his mother did.
“He never got to live his life,” she said. “I think if you weren’t so scared, you could have saved Cody.”
The state recommended a three-year prison sentence, which is the minimum sentence for involuntary manslaughter, Rudduck said.
“Her actions have caused the loss of a life,” said Matt Sullentrop, prosecuting attorney.
For the involuntary manslaughter charge, Rudduck sentenced Wampler to three years in prison, with credit given for 62 days already served.
For the aggravated trafficking of drugs charge, Rudduck sentenced Wampler to 12 months in prison.
“Every time we lose a person, somebody provided those drugs,” Rudduck said.
Rudduck said the sentences cannot be served concurrently and there will be no chance for Wampler to be released from prison early.
“I find a consecutive (sentence) is necessary to protect the public and to punish you,” he said. “Given that this is an agreed prison term, I would object to any early release programs.”
After serving her four years in prison, Rudduck said Wampler will be assigned a parole officer for five years.
If Wampler breaks her parole, she could serve nine months more in prison. If she is convicted of another felony charge while on parole, she could be sentenced to 12 months.
In addition to the prison and parole time, Wampler’s driver’s license was suspended for five years, which is the maximum time a license can be suspended for a charge of trafficking drugs.
Wampler was not requested to pay any restitution, but she was instructed to pay $25 for each public defender application fee, as she has had two different representatives throughout the case. She was also instructed to pay the court fees.
Wampler had the chance to address Hart’s parents during the hearing, and she apologized for what she had done.
“I’m very sorry for your loss,” she said. “I have to deal with that for the rest of my life. I made bad choices.”
Hart’s father did not look at Wampler while she spoke, and his mother did not say anything to Wampler.
“She deserves every year she gets,” Virginia said.
The co-defendant in Hart’s death, Daymon Haislip, who pled not guilty, has one more pre-trial hearing Oct. 15 at 2:30 p.m. His first trial will start Nov. 16 at 9 a.m. The second trial will start Nov. 23 at 2:30 p.m.
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