December 4, 2013

Four sentenced to prison on conviction connected to Farmington woman’s overdose death

Marilyn Rider, 52, overdosed on morphine injected at her boyfriend’s birthday party in 2012.

By Kaitlin Schroeder
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

“This court disputes this is a private matter,” Murphy said, and said their recreational drug use was not simply a personal bad choice, but a crime that ended with someone dead.

Assistant District Attorney Jim Andrews said he was recommending long sentences for Roy and Seth Gordon because lenient sentencing and second chances seem to have no sobering effect on them.

Roy Gordon has a criminal history dating back to 1989, including assault, terrorizing, drug offenses and violating a condition of release, along with misdemeanor offenses. When he furnished the morphine at his birthday party, he was on administrative release for a previous offense.

Andrews said Seth Gordon has a similar history.

“There is a cycle here of repeated drug culture … interrupted only briefly by short sentences,” he said.

Roy Gordon’s attorney, Walter Hanstein, said tests showed Gordon has very low intelligence and has a diminished ability to understand that the drugs could lead to an overdose death. With prompts from Hanstein, Gordon told the court he didn’t finish high school, he cannot read or write, and Rider helped him read his mail.

Terry Oliver’s attorney, Jason Bulay, said Oliver should not be treated as a worse criminal than the others, because she was not present when the shots of morphine were administered and had no prior criminal history.

Andrews argued that Oliver probably was the most serious criminal because she sold at least 60 morphine pills a month for the last year.

“Evidence is she was pumping an enormous amount of poison into the Farmington community,” he said.

In an apology to the court, Barnes described himself as Rider’s best friend and said he thinks about Rider’s death every day.

“I don’t want nothing to do with drugs again,” he told Murphy.

His attorney, David Sanders, and his caseworker with Maine Behavioral Health said Barnes is making a sincere effort to curb his drug abuse and elected to take injections of naproxen, a drug which can help stop opiate cravings and will make a person dangerously ill if they take it with opiates. Barnes did have a relapse after Rider’s death, he acknowledged, but he said it was because of grief.

Murphy said while she acknowledges all of these mitigating factors, a lesser sentence wouldn’t be appropriate in a case in which an 11-year-old boy was left motherless.

Her highest concern, she said, is to find a solution that will break the cycle of addiction after smaller sentences, outpatient treatment and the shock of Rider’s death all seemingly failed to deter the defendants from further drug use.

The state prison, she said, has treatment programs for defendants serving longer sentences.

She said other counties have options allowing inmates to serve longer sentences, remaining at the county jail and working on a re-entry plan. Because the Franklin County jail’s status has been reduced to that of a holding facility, however, she said prison appears to be the only available option in these cases.

Kaitlin Schroeder — 861-9252

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Additional Photos

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Terry Oliver

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Eric Barnes


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