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Authorities: Dealer Charged In West Milford Woman's Heroin OD Death

Cleveland D. Spencer
Cleveland D. Spencer Photo Credit: COURTESY: Passaic County Prosecutor

WEST MILFORD, N.J. – Authorities on Thursday charged a Paterson man with selling the heroin that killed a 33-year-old West Milford woman earlier this year.

Cleveland D. Spencer, 26, was arrested earlier in the day and charged with strict liability in a drug-induced death for the fatal dose taken by Maryann McKinnon, authorities said Thursday.

Officers responding to Freehold Court found McKinnon unconscious and unresponsive, authorities said, adding that efforts to revive her failed – including administering doses of Narcan.

McKinnon was later pronounced dead at Chilton Memorial Hospital.

“The subsequent investigation revealed that Mr. Spencer was the individual that sold the drugs which were ultimately ingested by McKinnon, resulting in her death,” Passaic County Prosecutor Camelia M. Valdes and West Milford Police Chief Timothy C. Storbeck said in a joint announcement.

Strict liability for a drug-induced death is a first-degree charge that carries a 20-year sentence if the defendant is tried and convicted by a judge or jury. In recent years, defense lawyers have secured pleas that have brought sentences of 10 to 15 years.

Spencer, who is also charged with having and distributing drugs, was being held in the Passaic County Jail pending a detention hearing Friday in Paterson.

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