Hartford man convicted in overdose death

  • In US
  • 2022-09-22 20:13:00Z
  • By Journal Inquirer, Manchester, Conn.

Sep. 22-A Hartford man who was an intermediary in what was supposed to be a cocaine deal that ultimately led to a Manchester man's death from a fentanyl overdose accepted a plea bargain Wednesday, in which he was convicted of a felony drug charge and a misdemeanor count of criminally negligent homicide.


DEFENDANT: Kahari Belcher, 28, of Hartford.

CONVICTIONS: Possession of narcotics with intent to sell, criminally negligent homicide.

SENTENCE DEAL: Cap is 10 years, suspended after two years in prison, followed by three years of probation, but Belcher's lawyer has a right to argue for less prison time at his Nov. 16 sentencing.

Kahari Belcher, 28, admitted in Hartford Superior Court that he was guilty of possessing narcotics with the intent to sell them. He accepted the negligent homicide conviction under the Alford doctrine, meaning he didn't admit guilt but acknowledged that the prosecution's evidence was enough for a conviction at trial.

Belcher's plea bargain allows a sentence up to two years in prison but gives his lawyer, Michael A. Peck, the right to argue for less prison time at his Nov. 16 sentencing. The sentence Judge David P. Gold imposes on Belcher will include three years of probation, and possibly eight or more years behind bars if he violates release conditions.

Belcher was originally charged with second-degree manslaughter, which carries up to 10 years in prison, and the drug charge, which carries up to 15 years.

Belcher was involved in a drug deal on Aug. 28, 2019, in which he obtained bags of powder for his friend Dylan Deschenes, who lived with his brother Dustin in an apartment on Wetherell Street in Manchester. After taking the drugs, both brothers overdosed, and Dustin, 35, died.

Peck said during and after Wednesday's hearing that Belcher also received some of the drugs, took them, and threw up. He said Belcher subsequently sent a text message warning the brothers that something didn't seem right.

Prosecutor Richard Rubino acknowledged that Belcher wasn't "actually the dealer here," saying he walked down an alley and obtained the two bags of drugs from someone else.

Rubino said people in his office tried 15 times to speak to Dustin Deschenes' mother and succeeded in speaking to her only once, at which time she took no position on the plea offer.

Dylan Deschenes is facing a second-degree manslaughter charge, as well as charges of possession of narcotics with intent to sell, and second-degree reckless endangerment, online court records show. He is free on $25,000 bond.

Belcher, too, remains free on $25,000 bond while awaiting sentencing.

A state medical examiner concluded after an autopsy that Dustin Deschenes died of "acute intoxication from the combined effects of fentanyl, hydroxyzine, and 4-ANPP," according to an affidavit by Manchester police Detective Jason Moss. The detective explained that 4-ANPP is a compound used in manufacturing fentanyl.

Hydroxyzine is a drug used to treat anxiety and tension as well as the itching caused by allergies.

Dylan Deschenes told police that he drove to Belcher's house in Hartford to make the purchase, according to the detective's affidavit. He described the bags in which he received the white powder as not the normal packaging for cocaine. He said he snorted some of the powder and "instantly felt warm and began to perspire" as he experienced a high "nothing like the normal cocaine high."

Deschenes said Belcher called him while he was driving home and said, "I shorted you," offering him more of the drug. Deschenes said he went back and received a plastic bag with more white powder.

Deschenes said he told Belcher that the cocaine was "trash" and told him to snort some of it. He said Belcher did so and said, "That's weird."

For updates on Glastonbury, and recent crime and courts coverage in North-Central Connecticut, follow Alex Wood on Twitter: @AlexWoodJI1, Facebook: Alex Wood, and Instagram: @AlexWoodJI.


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