Deerfield man pleads guilty after heroin death
Joshua Leighton, 23, pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled drug and a misdemeanor count of breaching bail conditions on Monday in Rockingham County Superior Court.
Deerfield police arrested Leighton on the drug possession charge while investigating the death of James O’Rourke, according to prosecutors.
Leighton was later charged in July by Deerfield police with providing O’Rourke with a fatal dose of heroin, but prosecutors have not obtained an indictment in that case.
The plea deal was struck after defense lawyer Andrew Wilson asked a judge to dismiss charges against his client.
He received a suspended jail sentence for violating a court order to have no contact with Katelynn Giuffre, of Deerfield, who also faced a drug possession charge, prosecutors said. Leighton had contact with Giuffre at the Exit 5 Park & Ride in Londonderry sometime between Jan. 31 and Feb. 9, according to prosecutors.
Leighton could have faced up to 3½ to 7 years in state prison and a $25,000 fine had he been convicted of a drug charge by a jury. Prosecutors dropped a felony witness tampering charge for having contact with Giuffre.