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Thursday, May 27th, 2010

Husband enters plea in drug case involving death

By Margie Wuebker
CELINA - A 43-year-old Celina man faces up to six years in prison after pleading no contest to charges stemming from the drug-related death of his wife last June.
Brett R. Riley, 428 E. Livingston St., appeared in Mercer County Common Pleas Court on Wednesday and entered the plea to reckless homicide and possession of the drug fentanyl, as part of a negotiated agreement hammered out over the course of nearly a year.
In exchange for his plea, the Mercer County Prosecutor's Office dismissed the remaining charges in the grand jury indictment - involuntary manslaughter, corrupting another with drugs and trafficking in drugs.
Judge Jeffrey Ingraham set June 30 for sentencing. Reckless homicide, a third-degree felony, carries up to five years in prison upon conviction while the lesser drug charge, a fifth-degree felony, could add another year.
Riley said little in the courtroom other than to respond to questions from Ingraham regarding his intention to waive his constitutional rights, according to court records.   
Assistant prosecutor Matt Fox reserved the right to argue at the time of the June 30 sentencing. Defense attorneys Eric and Greg Wilson and Riley will have the opportunity to make statements.
Celina Police and Celina Fire Department medics responded to the Riley home the night of June 9 after the couple's children, ages 14 and 11, found their parents unresponsive and were unable to arouse them.
Michelle Riley, 36, a banker at Chase Bank in Celina, was pronounced dead at the scene. Brett Riley was rushed to Mercer County Community Hospital in Coldwater unconscious but breathing. He later regained consciousness at the hospital and reportedly told authorities what took place.
The Rileys reportedly sucked on pieces of a fentanyl patch to obtain a heightened effect from the narcotic. An autopsy conducted at the Montgomery County Coroner's Office determined the cause of Michelle Riley's death as fentanyl and alcohol intoxication.
When used properly, fentanyl patches provide a slow release of pain medication over the course of 24 to 48 hours. An overdose leads to swelling of the mouth and face, difficulty breathing, seizures and possible death.
Brett Riley reportedly purchased the patch from Philip Roy Schmidt, with the $56 transaction occurring at a Celina business. Fox stated in court that this was not the first transaction between the pair involving drugs for recreational use.
Schmidt, 60, of Celina, is serving consecutive prison terms totaling 13 years at Hocking Correctional Facility in Nelsonville for reckless homicide, corrupting another with drugs and trafficking in drugs.
Additional online story on this date
The U.S. Postal Service Processing and Distribution Center in Lima will begin shutting down operations July 1 in preparation for a complete relocation to a Toledo distribution center in January. [More]
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