KY man sentenced to life in prison for woman's overdose death - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

KY man sentenced to life in prison for woman's overdose death


A Clay County, Kentucky man has been sentenced to live in prison for illegally distributing prescription drugs that caused the death of another person.

Terry Smith, 55, was sentenced for distribution of a controlled substance resulting in death.

Because of Smith's criminal history, he received a mandatory life sentence under federal law. Smith has prior felony convictions for robbery in the first degree, for which he was sentenced to 20 years and later paroled, and possession of a controlled substance in the first degree, for which he received a probated sentence.

The judge also sentenced Smith to 30 years for conspiracy to distribute oxycodone and 10 years for possession of firearms by a convicted felon. Both sentences will run concurrently with the life sentence.

Smith's wife, Gerry, 53, received 7.5 years in prison for conspiring with her husband and others to distribute oxycodone.

According to U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky, Kerry B. Harvey, this case marks the first time in Kentucky that a life sentence was imposed in an overdose death case involving prescription drugs.

In January, a jury convicted Smith of the charges, following a five-day trial.

Evidence at the trial established that on Sept. 9, 2011, Smith had sponsored Patty Smallwood and others to travel to an out-of-state pain clinic, called Georgia Health Associates, in Tucker, Ga. to get oxycodone pills. When they returned, Smith paid for them to fill these prescriptions at the Community Drug Pharmacy, in Manchester, Ky.

These people then gave the pills to Smith, who kept a portion for himself and divided the rest among the people who made the trip.

The evidence showed that Smallwood took some of her pills that night. She later went to bed and never woke up.

Smallwood was found dead the following morning by her boyfriend. Although an autopsy was not performed, toxicology reports reflected that, along with smaller levels of several other drugs, Smallwood had four times the therapeutic level of oxycodone in her system.

A toxicologist testified that the oxycodone use was the likely cause of her death.

According to Harvey, this case also makes the first time in the Eastern District of Kentucky that a conviction was obtained in an overdose death case, without an autopsy report being used as evidence.

The investigation was conducted by the DEA. Assistant U.S. Attorney W. Samuel Dotson prosecuted the case on behalf of the federal government.

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