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Deerfield man pleads guilty after heroin death

Union Leader Correspondent

November 25. 2013 8:19PM
Joshua Leighton pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled drug and a misdemeanor count of breaching bail conditions. 

BRENTWOOD — A Deerfield man who was charged with providing heroin that killed a 29-year-old man was sentenced to a year in jail on Monday on a drug possession charge.

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.

The plea settled indictments brought against Leighton in May.

Deerfield police arrested Leighton on the drug possession charge while investigating the death of James O’Rourke, according to prosecutors.

During a search of Leighton’s home, police found him in possession of heroin.

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.

“It’s under review,” Assistant County Attorney Howard Helrich said of the charge in the second case.

The plea deal was struck after defense lawyer Andrew Wilson asked a judge to dismiss charges against his client.

Leighton began serving a yearlong county jail sentence after being taken into custody at the courthouse.

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.

Helrich told Judge Marguerite Wageling that Giuffre died recently from an asthma attack.

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.

Leighton was also ordered to pay a $350 fine and participate in any treatment and programs mandated by corrections officials. Wageling also ordered Leighton to have no contact with the families of O’Rourke and Giuffre.

He will be put on probation for a year after his release.

Crime Deerfield

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