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Former Effingham man gets lengthy prison sentence for Tuftonboro man's death

Union Leader Correspondent

January 31. 2018 4:17PM
Andrew Garland, 22, glances back at his mother sitting in the front row of the courtroom as he was sentenced to 12 to 24 years in prison for selling the drugs that killed a Tuftonboro man. (BEA LEWIS/CORRESPONDENT)

OSSISPEE — A former Effingham resident charged with selling the fentanyl heroin mix that killed Joshua Fournier of Tuftonboro in September 2016 could be released in 6 1/2 years following his sentencing Wednesday.

Under a plea agreement with the state, Andrew Garland, 22, must complete a substance abuse treatment program while incarcerated and take advantage of other educational opportunities for early release from the 12- to 24-year sentence. He could have faced a maximum penalty of life in prison.

"I would like to apologize to the Fournier family for the part I played in the death of Joshua. Although I did not know him, I feel remorseful and horrible for my actions and that my addiction has taken the life of another individual," Garland said before he became so emotional that he asked his public defender, Steve Mirkin, to read the rest.

Assistant Attorney General Danielle Sakowski, who prosecuted the case, told the judge the victim’s father, Michael Fournier, opposed the proposed deal, believing it was too lenient.

"He did not believe he was emotionally capable of being here today," the prosecutor said. The elder Fournier discovered his 22-year-old son dead in the basement of the home they shared. The state medical examiner ruled the cause of death as acute fentanyl intoxication.

In agreeing to accept the plea deal, Judge Amy Ignatious said she considered Garland's young age, his lone misdemeanor conviction and being addicted himself at the time the crimes occurred.

She told Garland that she remembered his vacant-eyed look when he was arraigned shortly after his arrest 13 months ago.

"You didn't even know you were here," Ignatious said. "You're a totally different person today."

Based on Garland's comments and those of his lawyer that Garland was taking advantage of the programming available at the Carroll County jail, the judge said it was clear he was remorseful and trying to better himself.

"I agree it is an appropriate sentence. There is no question this was a tragic event in a tragedy that has hit our state and our country," the judge said. "You deserve help to grow up, and your words show that you are trying and at the same time your conduct had the most serious consequences there ever can be."

Three years of the 12-year minimum sentence were suspended and an additional 1.5 years will be suspended if Garland completes the FOCUS program or a similar intensive recovery class. He was credited with serving 400 days in pretrial confinement.

For possession of a controlled drug with intent to sell and possession, Garland received two separate two- to four-year prison sentences that will remain suspended on the condition of good behavior for five years.

He was additionally ordered to pay $2,100 in restitution to the Garland family for the victim's funeral expenses, along with co-conspirator Melissa Ford.

Ford, of Ossipee, was previously sentenced to six to 20 years in prison for sale of a drug resulting in death.

She was accused of riding with Fournier to Garland's Effingham apartment, where she bought a half-gram of fentanyl/heroin from Garland and then passed it on to Fournier.

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