Orange County Man Jailed for Injecting Fatal Dose of Heroin
An Orange County man will serve jail time for injecting a fatal dose of heroin into a man at his home.
On Nov. 3, 2015 Kevin Pelton, 58, injected 51-year-old Joseph Vara of Nanuet with heroin at Pelton’s home in Port Jervis. Vara had trouble breathing and lost consciousness after the injection.
Emergency responders were called to the home after a woman at the residence called 911 and reported that an unconscious man needed medical attention. Officials attempted to save Vara’s life but he died on the scene.
Due to the increased number of heroin overdoses, City of Port Jervis Police officers now carry Naloxone, a drug that immediately reverses overdoses involving opiates such as heroin. However, while trying to save Vara’s life, officials say they weren’t told that he was recently injected with heroin.
In January, Pelton was charged with manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide, both felonies, for having injected heroin into Vara and failing to promptly seek medical attention for him.
Last month Pelton plead guilty to criminal injection of a narcotic drug, a felony. Monday in Orange County Court he was sentenced to one and one-half to four years in state prison.
“We are all aware that heroin deaths are increasing. I applaud the Port Jervis City Police Department, and other Orange County Police agencies for the lives they have saved, and will save by equipping their officers with Naloxone,” Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler said. “I am aware of, and fully support proposed laws which will increase the penalties for those who sell narcotics which cause the death of users.”