A judge ruled
Wednesday that Donalydia Huertas, 19, will be sentenced in juvenile
court after her conviction in the overdose death of 16-year-old Danielle
McCarthy of Puyallup. The decision clears the way for Huertas to receive
a standard sentencing range of up to 30 days in a juvenile jail, instead
of the nearly 5-½ years in an adult prison that she could have faced if
sentenced in adult court.
By Jennifer Sullivan
Seattle Times staff
parents, Patrick and Lisa McCarthy, console each other. They had sought
a long sentence for Donalydia Huertas, who gave their daughter a fatal
dose of Ecstasy.
MIKE SIEGEL / THE SEATTLE TIMES
EVERETT — For more
than a year and a half, the drug-overdose death of 16-year-old Danielle
McCarthy has loomed over two Puyallup families.
family and Snohomish County prosecutors sought a lengthy prison term for
Donalydia Huertas, the woman who gave McCarthy the fatal dose of
Ecstasy, Huertas has claimed the death was an accident and her attorney
has fought for her to serve a short stint in a juvenile jail.
On Wednesday, the
case neared its end in Huertas' favor. A Snohomish County judge ruled
that Huertas will be sentenced in juvenile court, a decision that clears
the way for the 19-year-old to receive a standard sentencing range of up
to 30 days in a juvenile jail, instead of the nearly 5-½ years in an
adult prison that she could have faced if sentenced in adult court.
Huertas, 19 and a
recent high-school graduate, and her crowd of nearly 30 supporters cried
and embraced after Superior Court Judge Ellen Fair's decision. Wayne
Fricke, Huertas' attorney, was quick to say that it was "a sad case" and
that nobody was celebrating.
Patrick and Lisa
McCarthy, Danielle's parents, quickly left the courtroom.
"Danielle's life in
the state of Washington is worth zero to 30 days. I would have died for
her," Lisa McCarthy said later.
Fair said Huertas
acted with "stupidity" by not coming to McCarthy's aid when the girl was
overdosing. But since then, Fair said, Huertas has "gained some
The judge said the
case has been "atypical" because judges are normally asked to move cases
between the two courts before a defendant is convicted, not after. Fair
said she struggled to find any court precedent to guide her while
weighing her decision.
Huertas was 17 when
McCarthy died on Jan. 1, 2007. She was initially charged with
controlled-substance homicide in juvenile court. But prosecutors later
amended the charge to the more severe first-degree manslaughter, and the
case was transferred to adult court.
In June, however, a
jury acquitted her of first-degree manslaughter and found her guilty of
the lesser charges of controlled-substance homicide and second-degree
manslaughter, which opened the possibility that the case could be moved
back to juvenile court for sentencing — a decision made by Fair on
pronounced dead at Stevens Hospital in Edmonds after she spent hours
overdosing, according to witnesses.
The night before,
McCarthy, Huertas and David Morris drove from Puyallup to parties on the
University of Washington's Greek Row and in Edmonds. Witnesses said that
during the evening, McCarthy had taken Ecstasy that Huertas bought from
Morris, according to charging papers.
But after taking a
second tablet, McCarthy grew sick, the charging papers say.
Around 4 a.m.,
McCarthy was incoherent and drifting in and out of consciousness while
at a house party in Edmonds. When someone tried to awaken McCarthy about
two hours later, the girl's face was cold and her lips were blue.
While Huertas told
police she did what she could to save her friend, prosecutors said that
Huertas ordered people not to help McCarthy. Huertas and Morris
eventually drove McCarthy to the hospital.
Morris, 21, has
since pleaded guilty to controlled-substance homicide and will serve
part of his nearly five-year sentence in drug treatment.
Coleen St. Clair said that when Huertas is sentenced on Aug. 25, she
will be seeking an exceptional sentence for juveniles in the state of
Washington — incarceration until the defendant is 21.
"Miss Huertas, more
than any other defendant I have ever seen, has shown a lack of remorse,"
St. Clair said during Wednesday's hearing. "She clearly does not
understand she has done anything wrong in this case."
Donalydia Huertas, 18, cries Wednesday after Superior Court
Judge Ellen Fair decided Huertas should be sentenced as a
juvenile in the 2007 death of Danielle McCarthy, 16.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Puyallup teen’s sentence range to be debated
DIANA HEFLEY; The (Snohomish County) Herald
Published: June 26th, 2008 01:00 AM
EVERETT – Snohomish County prosecutors will get a chance to prove why a
Puyallup teen should be sentenced as an adult in the Ecstasy overdose
death of a classmate.
Superior Court Judge Ellen Fair on Wednesday granted prosecutors a
special hearing in the case against Donalydia Huertas, 18. She was
convicted last week of controlled substance homicide and second-degree
manslaughter for her part in the 2007 Ecstasy overdose death of Danielle
McCarthy, 16, also of Puyallup.
Wednesday’s decision was the first step in deciding how much time
Huertas will serve after her convictions. She could face a couple months
in a juvenile rehabilitation facility if sentenced as a juvenile or
years in prison if sentenced as an adult.
Prosecutors initially charged Huertas in juvenile court with controlled
substance homicide. The case was moved to adult court after plea
negotiations broke down, and Huertas was charged with first-degree
manslaughter, an offense that is automatically handled in adult court.
The jury’s decision to convict Huertas of the lesser manslaughter charge
sent the case back to juvenile court.
Huertas was 17 at the time she gave Ecstasy to McCarthy.
Prosecutors argued Wednesday that the law allows them to ask the
juvenile court to decline jurisdiction and pass authority to adult court
for sentencing. Huertas’ attorney Wayne Fricke argued prosecutors missed
the deadline to ask for a decline hearing when they first charged
Huertas with controlled substance homicide in juvenile court.
Fair ruled the law allowed prosecutors to request a hearing, scheduled
for Aug. 11.
Huertas is free on bail.
EVERETT -- A judge is expected to decide today if
prosecutors get a chance to argue that a Puyallup teenager should be
sentenced as an adult in the Ecstasy overdose death of a classmate.
A jury on Friday convicted Donalydia Huertas, 18, of controlled
substance homicide and second-degree manslaughter in the 2007 death of
Danielle McCarthy. Jurors threw out the first-degree manslaughter charge
leveled against Huertas.
A conviction of first-degree manslaughter would have guaranteed that
Huertas be sentenced in adult court. Instead the verdict raised
questions about who has jurisdiction to sentence Huertas -- juvenile or
Huertas was 17 at the time of the crimes. She initially was charged in
juvenile court with controlled substance homicide. When plea
negotiations broke down, prosecutors added the first- degree
manslaughter charge, and moved the case into adult court, where her
trial was conducted.
Since she was convicted of the lesser charge, the door now is open to
the possibility Huertas be sentenced as a juvenile, her attorney Wayne
That could mean the difference between a month or two in a juvenile
detention facility or years in a state prison.
Today's hearing will determine if prosecutors get a shot to argue why
juvenile court should decline to sentence Huertas and the authority be
passed to adult court.
Prosecutors believe the offense was so egregious that Huertas should be
treated as an adult. They also point to the disparity between the
sentences for a juvenile and an adult offender. Co-defendant David
Morris, 21, who pleaded guilty to controlled substance homicide, was
sentenced to nearly five years in prison. He'll be allowed to spend half
of the time seeking drug treatment outside jail.
Huertas' culpability was much greater and her sentence should reflect
that, Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Coleen St. Clair said.
Huertas' attorney Fricke has disagreed, telling jurors Huertas was a
teenager who didn't understand the gravity of the situation, and Morris
sold the drugs, he said.
McCarthy overdosed on Ecstasy during a New Year's Eve celebration. She
showed signs of overdosing for more than eight hours before she was
taken to Stevens Hospital in Edmonds on Jan. 1, 2007.
Huertas remains free on bail. She likely won't be sentenced until later
Published: June 21st, 2008 01:00 AM
| Updated: June 21st, 2008 06:42 AM
A judge will be asked to decide next week whether a Puyallup
teenager convicted of giving a lethal dose of drugs to a classmate
should be sentenced as a kid or a grown-up.
The decision could mean the difference between 30 days in
juvenile detention or two years or more in state prison for
18-year-old Donalydia Huertas.
“The difference is life-altering for her,” Huertas’ attorney,
Wayne Fricke of Tacoma, said Friday.
Huertas was convicted Thursday in Snohomish County Superior Court
as an adult for her role in the death of her classmate Danielle
McCarthy died Jan. 1, 2007, after ingesting a lethal dose of the
drug Ecstasy. The two had been out partying with another person in
Seattle and in Edmonds to celebrate the New Year’s holiday.
Fricke intends to argue at a Wednesday hearing in Everett that
his client’s case is governed by a seldom-exercised state law that
requires certain young offenders to be sentenced as juveniles even
though they were convicted in adult court.
Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Coleen St. Clair said she’s
not sure that law applies to Huertas.
Even if Superior Court Judge Ellen Fair decides to send the case
to juvenile court for sentencing, St. Clair said she might ask a
judge there to send it back to adult court, which the law allows.
Or, the deputy prosecutor said, she might ask the juvenile court
to sentence Huertas under a “manifest injustice” clause that could
increase the maximum beyond the 30 days.
“I don’t exactly know all the answers,” St. Clair said Friday.
“All I know for sure is that this case is headed for appeal no
matter what happens.”
Jurors believed Snohomish County prosecutors’ contentions that
Huertas gave McCarthy the drugs, then waited too long to seek help
when the 16-year-old girl started showing signs she’d overdosed.
They convicted Huertas of controlled substance homicide but
deadlocked on a first-degree manslaughter charge, deciding instead
she was guilty of the lesser included offense of second-degree
That decision set the stage for the arguments over where Huertas
should be sentenced.
A state law –
RCW 13.04.030 – says a juvenile defendant whose
case is automatically transferred to adult court because of the
seriousness of the alleged crime should be sentenced in juvenile
court if he or she is instead convicted of a “lesser included
offense” that wouldn’t automatically require the case to go to adult
That applies even if the defendant turns 18 after his or her case
was transferred to adult court.
The Washington Supreme Court upheld the law last September.
The state’s high court said in its ruling in State v. Posey that
the law “bolsters the principles set out by the Legislature that the
more severe punishment should be only imposed on defendants who
actually commit an enumerated charge.”
Fricke contends his client qualifies for sentencing in juvenile
court because that’s where prosecutors originally brought charges
They first charged her as a juvenile with controlled substance
homicide and added the manslaughter charge only after she declined
to accept a plea bargain that would have kept her locked up until
she turned 21, Fricke said.
“The prosecutors are going to have to come up with a reason why
all this case law doesn’t apply to her,” he said.
St. Clair said she might have one.
Huertas had turned 18 before the first-degree manslaughter charge
was added, making her an adult in the eyes of the law, the deputy
Fricke said he thinks his client deserves a break. Huertas didn’t
give Danielle drugs maliciously and took some of the Ecstasy herself
while the two were out together having a good time, the attorney
“Do you lock one up because she doesn’t die?” Fricke said. “It’s
just a sad, sad, sad situation from every perspective.”
Danielle’s parents, Puyallup residents Lisa and Pat McCarthy,
said Friday that they want to see Huertas sentenced as an adult.
“It will send the message that this is serious, that Danielle’s
life was worth something, and that she (Huertas) had no right to do
what she did,” Lisa McCarthy said.
Pat McCarthy, 48, said the uncertainty surrounding Huertas’
sentencing, scheduled for Aug. 11, postpones resolution in the case
and the beginning of healing for him.
He said he’s nervous about the sentence Huertas will receive, but
will accept the outcome.
“For the past year and a half, I feel like we’ve been stuck in
limbo,” Pat McCarthy said. “This will close the door to the
nightmare we’ve been going through.”
Adam Lynn: 253-597-8644
Staff writer Steve Maynard contributed to this report.
Danielle McCarthy's parents heard something different in a courtroom on
"Danielle's life, in the state of Washington, is worth zero to 30 days.
I would have died for her," the teen's mother, Lisa McCarthy, said. "For
this to be the end result, I'm appalled. I'm appalled by the way we've
The Puyallup teenager who gave McCarthy, 16, Ecstasy and stood by as the
drug ended the girl's life, could escape spending any time in jail after
a ruling handed down Wednesday in Snohomish County Superior Court.
A judge ordered that Donalydia Huertas, 18, be sentenced in juvenile
court in the 2007 overdose death. A jury convicted Huertas in June of
controlled substance homicide and second-degree manslaughter.
Huertas provided McCarthy with Ecstasy during a night of partying
between Puyallup, Seattle and Edmonds. She discouraged other partygoers
to summon medical aid for McCarthy, who showed signs of overdosing for
hours. McCarthy was eventually taken to Stevens Hospital in Edmonds,
where doctors determined she had died.
Although she was tried and convicted in adult court, Huertas got a break
on punishment because of the jury's verdict and her age at the time of
Huertas could have faced nearly six years in prison. Under juvenile
rules, her standard sentence could be between zero and 30 days in
Superior Court Judge Ellen Fair told Huertas that the teen showed lack
of judgment and stupidity the night McCarthy died. The judge also said
she believes there is likelihood that Huertas can be rehabilitated.
"I think Ms. Huertas is on the road to recognizing her responsibility in
the whole sad state of affairs," Fair said.
Huertas, who remains free on bail, is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 25.
Co-defendant David Morris, 21, who sold the Ecstasy to Huertas, pleaded
guilty to controlled substance homicide in November. He was sentenced to
nearly five years in prison. Under a drug-offender alternative sentence,
he will be allowed to spend about half his sentence seeking drug
treatment outside prison.
Snohomish County prosecutors say they will ask that Huertas be locked up
until she is 21. They argued that a regular juvenile sentence would be a
"The fact that she's shown no remorse, not even a hint that she's done
anything wrong, makes her a danger to the community," Snohomish County
deputy prosecutor Coleen St. Clair said.
She argued that a sentence in the juvenile system wouldn't provide time
enough to protect the community. Huertas won't be required to be
supervised by the state Department of Corrections under juvenile
sentencing, St. Clair said.
Huertas' attorney Wayne Fricke said his client is remorseful and working
hard to make amends. Huertas underwent drug and alcohol counseling and
continues to see a mental health provider, he said.
"She's climbing up the ladder. We should applaud that," Fricke said.
Prosecutors initially charged Huertas in juvenile court with controlled
substance homicide. The case was moved to adult court after plea
negotiations broke down and Huertas was charged with first-degree
manslaughter. That offense automatically sent the case to adult court.
The jury could not agree on first-degree manslaughter charge. Instead,
they convicted Huertas of the lesser second-degree manslaughter charge.
That crime on its own was not serious enough to keep the case in adult
Huertas was 17 at the time she gave Ecstasy to McCarthy. She turns 19
The juvenile court considers a number of factors in its decision to
decline jurisdiction, including the protection of the community and the
likelihood the offender can be rehabilitated in the juvenile detention
St. Clair on Wednesday argued that Huertas committed a serious crime
that cost a girl her life, yet Huertas had engaged in a campaign to
portray herself as the victim. She and her friends harassed witnesses to
the point one girl was forced to get a protection order against Huertas,
St. Clair said.
Huertas left messages on McCarthy's MySpace page denying that she did
anything wrong the night her classmate overdosed on Ecstasy, St. Clair
Huertas wrote to McCarthy's family, telling them she gave up her own
partying that night to help their daughter, court documents said. She
chastised McCarthy's family for casting blame, prosecutors wrote.
"Sorry if any of this hurts but put yourself in my shoes. You and your
family have put me through hell and I am still here cause I know
Danielle has been with me," Huertas allegedly wrote online. "She told me
to brush it off cause ONE day they will realize they were wrong."
Fricke dismissed the bulk of the online postings, saying they were not
directly written by Huertas but by people she knew. Huertas couldn't be
held responsible for the actions of others, he said.
Fricke said Huertas was the target of a smear campaign since McCarthy's
death. She was forced to leave school and was harassed. Huertas was
working at a restaurant when someone threw red wine on her and called
her a murderer, he said. She has attempted suicide, according to
Fair said she had to balance the proven facts of the crime against the
emotions surrounding a young person's death.
While the e-mail exchanges between Huertas and her friends are
disturbing and offensive, Fair said she believes Huertas is sorry for
The judge also said she understands Patrick and Lisa McCarthy's desire
to see Huertas receive the maximum sentence.
Patrick and Lisa McCarthy said the judge had an opportunity to send a
strong message to young people about the consequences of drug use.
Instead, Wednesday's decision only shows that there's no real
punishment, Patrick McCarthy said.
"I believe today's decision wasn't right," he said. "It's putting all
kids in jeopardy."
Despite the decision, the McCarthys say they will continue to bring
attention to the crime of controlled substance homicide -- for their
"If there's an overdose death, someone is guilty," Patrick McCarthy
Reporter Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463 or email@example.com.
EVERETT – A Puyallup teenager has been found guilty
in the Jan. 1, 2007 death of another girl who overdosed on Ecstasy.
Donalydia Huertas, 18, was found guilty of controlled substance homicide
and second degree manslaughter in the overdose death of Danielle
McCarthy, 16, also of Puyallup.
Jurors acquitted Huertas of a charge of manslaughter in the first
degree, a more severe charge that would guarantee she would be sentenced
in adult court.
The lesser charge leaves open the possibility that Huertas might be
sentenced in juvenile court. The difference could be she serves weeks,
instead of years.
McCarthy's family was upset after the verdict that Huertas was not taken
into custody. She has been out on bail since being charged in their
Jurors deliberated less than two hours before announcing their verdict
in the week-long trial.
A number of the witnesses who testified were young people who were with
Huertas and McCarthy during a night of partying. Huertas decided to not
testify in her own defense by taking the stand.
Huertas was accused of giving McCarthy two Ecstasy pills and asserting
herself as the younger girl's caretaker. Friends for only a few weeks,
Huertas that night aggressively rebuffed any suggestions that the girl
needed to go to the hospital for help.
Prosecutors told jurors that for at least eight hours McCarthy showed
signs that she was overdosing. She vomited repeatedly and begged Huertas
not to let her die.
She was taken to Stevens Hospital in Edmonds Jan. 1, 2007 where she was
Attorney Wayne Fricke told jurors his client wasn’t responsible for
McCarthy’s death. Huertas had taken Ecstasy herself, and didn’t
understand how sick the girl was, Fricke said. He also argued that
Huertas didn’t give McCarthy the drugs. He told jurors that David
Morris, 21, was responsible for providing the drugs.
Morris, also of Puyallup, pleaded guilty to controlled substance
homicide and was sentenced earlier this month to nearly five years in
prison. He will serve half of his sentence out of jail to seek drug
treatment. He was called as a witness against Huertas in the trail which
started June 9.
Trial begins into classmate's role in teen's overdose
Watch the news release here
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Danielle McCarthy was a kid who didn't get a chance
to learn from her mistakes.
She took Ecstasy for the first time on New Year's Eve 2006. About eight
hours later, Danielle died of a drug overdose in Edmonds.
Now, attorneys are arguing whether a former classmate carries some of
the responsibility for the 16-year-old Puyallup girl's death.
The trial for Donalydia Huertas, 18, began Tuesday in Snohomish County
Superior Court. Huertas, of Puyallup, is charged with first-degree
manslaughter and controlled-substance homicide, both felonies.
Prosecuting attorney Jarett Goodkin gives his
opening statement during the trial of Donalydia Huertas on
charges of first-degree manslaughter and controlled-substance
Prosecutors allege that Huertas bought Ecstasy, took two pills and gave
two to Danielle during a night of partying with a group of friends. They
also say Huertas knew Danielle was extremely sick from taking the drug
and did nothing to help the girl. Huertas continuously cursed at anyone
who suggested that Danielle should go to the hospital, Snohomish County
deputy prosecutor Jarett Goodkin said.
" 'Please don't let me die' -- those were Danielle McCarthy's words to
the defendant. That's exactly what she did," Goodkin said of Huertas.
Danielle's parents held hands as they sat in the front row of the
courtroom. Lisa McCarthy wept as Goodkin told jurors how Danielle
pleaded for "her mommy" as the drugs attacked her body.
The girl vomited and urinated in her pants. She collapsed, lost
consciousness and suffered a seizure. Several hours later, after her
lips had turned blue and one of her hands was clenched in a claw, she
was taken to Stevens Hospital in Edmonds. Doctors tried but could not
"Evidence will show she didn't have to die," Goodkin told the jury.
Huertas, sitting next to her attorney Wayne Fricke, sobbed as the jury
was told that she cursed at one girl who suggested Danielle needed to be
Huertas' attorney said Danielle's death was tragic, but told jurors his
client is not responsible.
A Puyallup man, David Morris, provided the drugs that night, Fricke
said. Evidence will show that Morris, not Huertas, gave Danielle the
drugs, Fricke said.
Morris, 21, last week was sentenced to nearly five years in prison for
his part in Danielle's death. He pleaded guilty to controlled-substance
homicide. He will be allowed to spend half his sentence in drug
treatment outside prison as part of a special sentencing alternative for
drug offenders. Prosecutors expect to call him as a witness against
Defense attorney Wayne Fricke listens during opening
statements on Tuesday during the trial of Donalydia Huertas.
Fricke argued that the prosecution's case is based on testimony from a
group of young people whose stories are inconsistent and in some cases
motivated by spite. All of the witnesses were under the influence of
drugs or alcohol that night, he said. Some have lied about what they saw
that night, especially one girl who reported that Huertas repeatedly
cursed at her when she asked after Danielle's welfare, Fricke said.
Huertas attempted to take care of Danielle. Only 17 at the time, she
didn't know Danielle's condition was so grave, Fricke said.
Huertas originally was charged in juvenile court with
controlled-substance homicide, a seldom-used charge. The first-degree
manslaughter charge was added after plea negotiations broke down. The
charge is automatically handled in adult court.
EVERETT, Wash. – Trial
began Tuesday for a teen accused of giving a classmate Ecstasy then
telling friends not to call for help after the girl overdosed.
Donalydia Huertas is charged with first-degree manslaughter and
controlled substance homicide in the death of 16-year-old Danielle
McCarthy of Puyallup on New Year's Eve 2006.
"'Please don't let me die.' Those were Danielle McCarthy's words to
the defendant, Donalydia Huertas," prosecutor Jarret Goodkin told the
"Dona Huertas told everyone (Danielle) was fine. She just needed to
rest. Danielle McCarthy was not fine. She was dying of an Ecstasy
McCarthy had joined Huertas and others to party that night.
Prosecutors say Huertas bought Ecstasy from David Morris and gave it to
McCarthy, who wasn't a drug user. When it was clear McCarthy had
overdosed, prosecutors claim Huertas didn't help and even got nasty
several times with other people who tried to.
"She was told 'get the (expletive) away. She doesn't need your
help,'" said Goodkin.
Huertas' attorney paints a very different picture, saying Huertas and
McCarthy were simply teenagers experimenting with drugs together.
"When you see the toxicology results, you're going to find that
Danielle was also consuming marijuana," said attorney Wayne Fricke.
He says when it became clear McCarthy was ill, Dona Huertas tried to
help as best she could.
"Dona was freaking out. She didn't know what she was doing," said
Huertas, who is now 18, is being tried in adult court after her
attorney unsuccessfully tried to move the case back to juvenile court.
Huertas was originally charged with controlled substance homicide as a
juvenile, but prosecutors upped the charges and moved the case to adult
court after Huertas refused a plea deal.
Either one of those deals would have sent her to prison for roughly
three years. If convicted, she faces more than eight years behind bars.
Last week, Morris was sentenced to 30 months in prison and 30 months
community custody. Although there wasn't a plea deal involved, Morris
pleaded guilty to controlled substance homicide and promised to testify
Man sentenced in Puyallup teen's overdose death
Story Published: Jun 4, 2008 at 4:15 PM PDT
Story Updated: Jun 4, 2008 at 7:59 PM PDT
EVERETT, Wash. -- A Puyallup man who admitted to supplying drugs
that killed a 16-year-old girl has been sentenced to more than two
years in prison.
Twenty-one-year-old David Morris pleaded guilty to controlled
substance homicide, a felony, in the overdose death of Danielle
McCarthy, of Puyallup. He admitted he supplied Ecstasy to McCarthy
on New Year's Eve 2006.
Morris appeared in Snohomish County Superior Court on Wednesday.
Before learning his fate he listened to the emotional word of
McCarthy's grieving family members.
"It's like something cut us in half...and everyone can see," said
mother Lisa McCarthy. "they say it gets easier with time. I don't
know who 'they' are. It doesn't get easier. You just get better at
hiding the pain."
Danielle died after a night of partying with her friends more than
two years ago, but several questions remain unanswered. For
instance, it remains a mystery why Morris did not do anything sooner
to help the teen. Danielle was already dead by the time she was
finally rushed to the hospital after taking two tablets of Ecstacy.
"There were so many points along the way when her life could have
been saved," said Judge Ellen Fair on Wednesday.
Danielle's father said he lives with that troubling point every day.
"Danielle is the first thing I think of when I wake up, the last
thing I think about when I go to bed at night. But everything in
between is how she died," said Patrick McCarthy.
After hearing to the painful words of Danielle's parents, Morris
made a tearful apology to the family.
"Not a day goes by when I don't think about what happened and the
loss of Danielle," he said.
Morris was granted an alternative sentence for drug offenders.
In addition to his prison sentence, Morris will be under community
supervision for more than two years and be required to undergo drug
treatment. If he fails to meet all the requirements of treatment,
he'll be sent back to prison to finish out the remainder of his
sentence. Once out of prison, he will also have to serve 30 months
of community service.
Morris, who has been out of custody, was ordered jailed immediately.
He is expected to remain in the Snohomish County Jail in Everett
during the trial of co-defendant Donalydia Huertas. The 18-year-old
woman from Puyallup is expected to go on trial next week.
Prosecutors say Huertas bought the drugs from Morris and gave them
to McCarthy. She is charged with first-degree manslaughter and
controlled substance homicide. She has refused to take the guilty
Video: Drug dealer in teen's Ecstasy death gets 30 months
EVERETT, Wash. – A man who sold the drug Ecstasy that killed a
Puyallup girl was shown some leniency from a judge Wednesday for his
cooperation in the investigation.
David Michael Morris of Puyallup was sentenced to 30 months in prison
for the New Year's Eve 2006 death of 16-year-old Danielle Dawn McCarthy,
also of Puyallup.
Danielle's mother was in tears as she spoke at the sentencing.
"I hope someday he has the courage to explain to me why my child's
life wasn't worth saving," said Lisa McCarthy. "She's dead and she's not
coming back... and she was mine and I loved her."
Morris will also have to serve 30 months of community custody upon
his release, which will include substance abuse treatment. If he fails
at that or commits another crime, he'll serve the remainder of those 30
months in prison.
"I want to apologize to the McCarthys for the loss of their daughter.
I know it won't change her not being here, but I wish it could," Morris
said in court.
McCarthy took the drug at a party. After two doses, prosecutors say
Danielle became very sick and started having seizures, but no one did
anything to help her. Morris finally drove her to an Edmonds hospital,
but she was already dead.
Morris faced up to five years in prison.
The lighter sentence was not part of a plea bargain. The judge cited
the fact that Morris was cooperative through the investigation, pleaded
guilty to controlled substance homicide and voluntarily agreed to
testify against another suspect, 18-year-old Donalydia Huertas. She's
the classmate who is accused of actually giving McCarthy the Ecstasy,
then telling people not to help Danielle as she was suffering. Huertas
is charged with controlled substance homicide and first-degree
Trial begins next week for Huertas. She was offered similar deals to
Morris' in both juvenile and adult courts, but pleaded not guilty.