An Oak Ridge woman received a three-year prison sentence in a plea agreement on Monday after a drug overdose that reportedly involved a fentanyl analogue last year left a man unconscious on a hallway floor with a very weak pulse and unable to breathe on his own.
Heather Mariue Rau, 30, pleaded guilty in Anderson County Criminal Court in Clinton on Monday to charges of aggravated assault, reckless endangerment with illegal narcotics (acrylfentanyl), promotion of methamphetamine manufacture, possession of methamphetamine, possession of drugs for sale, and possession of drug paraphernalia. Those charges were from two separate indictments against Rau last year.
A second, duplicate charge of possession of drug paraphernalia was dismissed as part of the plea agreement.
Rau must pay court costs and fines that appear to total close to $9,000, according to criminal judgements filed by the Anderson County Circuit Court Clerk. She will receive credit for time served after being jailed at the Anderson County Detention Facility in Clinton since February 16, 2017. As a standard offender, her release eligibility has been set at 30 percent.
She has to register on the Bureau of Investigation Registry under state law, and she will lose all federal benefits for three years. It’s not clear what federal benefits Rau might have. She also cannot contact the victim, Wesley “Bud” Arnold, or his property, according to the criminal judgement.
The drug that caused the overdose of Arnold on West Outer Drive on February 16, 2017, had been said to be heroin, according to affidavits filed earlier in 2017 in Anderson County General Sessions Court in Oak Ridge.
But indictments filed against Rau on August 1 said the illegal narcotic was not heroin but actually acrylfentanyl, a fentanyl analogue that is more powerful and dangerous than heroin.
Rau had advised Arnold not to “shoot it,” or inject it, because she knew that what she had given him could possibly kill him, according to the affidavits filed in February 2017. Rau and another man, Willie Williams, had ingested the same drug on February 12, and Rau overdosed while Williams died, said the affidavits, filed by former Oak Ridge Police Department Detective John Criswell.
Rau provided the same drug, which had been identified as heroin, to Arnold, which caused his overdose, the affidavits said. Rau admitted to knowing that the drug could possibly kill Arnold, Criswell said. It’s not clear how Arnold ingested the drug.
Arnold was unconscious on a hallway floor, had a very weak pulse, and could not breathe on his own when an emergency medical crew responded to the overdose at about 3 p.m. February 16. Emergency personnel were able to revive Arnold by giving him a dose of Narcan, which is used to help people who overdose on opioid-based narcotics.
The indictments filed August 1 charged Rau with reckless endangerment for putting Arnold in imminent danger of serious bodily injury through a deadly weapon (the acrylfentanyl) while misrepresenting the drug as heroin.
Besides reckless endangerment, Rau was also indicted on charges of aggravated assault in the overdose because of the illegal narcotic, possession of drug paraphernalia because of a small digital scale and syringes found by police, and possession of a controlled substance for sale (the acrylfentanyl).
In a separate indictment also from February 16 and also filed August 1, Rau was charged with promoting the manufacture of methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine, and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Those indictments charged Rau with possessing syringes, methamphetamine, and chemicals and equipment that could be and would be used to make methamphetamine, including liquid fire drain cleaner, solid drain cleaner, empty Sudafed containers and packaging, a pot bottle, and “meth lab trash” like a used coffee filter.
Rau was represented in the plea agreement on Monday by defense attorney Stephanie Jernigan. Assistant District Attorney Ryan Spitzer was the prosecutor.
See this earlier story for more information.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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