Rockland woman to be sentenced in methadone death

Posted March 25, 2010, at 10:59 a.m.

BANGOR, Maine — The sentencing hearing for a Rockland woman who has admitted supplying a dose of methadone to her brother the day he died five years ago is scheduled to continue Thursday in U.S. District Court in Bangor.

Rochelle Kenney, 47, pleaded guilty last year to distribution of methadone between December 2004 and December 2006 that resulted in a death and to health care fraud during the same time period that resulted in a death.

By pleading guilty to the charges, Kenney admitted that she sold and-or gave away methadone that was paid for by Medicaid. She has been held without bail pending sentencing since entering her guilty plea.

It is up to U.S. District Judge John Woodcock to determine whether the methadone the defendant gave her brother was the sole cause of his death.

If the judge finds it is more probable than not that the methadone caused John Kenney’s death, Rochelle Kenney would face a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life.

If Woodcock determines that the methadone did not cause

the fisherman’s death, Kenney will face a maximum of 20 years in prison.

Kenney’s brother John Kenney, 43, died April 26, 2005, six months after he and three crew mates survived the sinking of the 44-foot dragger Canadian Mist 30 miles southeast of Nantucket.

The day John Kenney died, his sister shared with him methadone she had picked up earlier in the day from a

Waterville clinic. Later that day, he flew with others in a private plane from Rockland to Matinicus Island to go on a fishing trip. Shortly after they arrived on the island, he was found slumped over on a doorstep at the home of the person the group had come to visit, according to court documents.

The autopsy showed that he died of “acute methadone and diazepam toxicity,” the state medical examiner determined in late 2005 after toxicology tests were completed.

The autopsy also showed that John Kenney suffered from “hypertrophic cardiovascular disease,” or an enlarged heart, which may have been a factor in his death, according to David Bate, the Bangor attorney for Rochelle Kenney.

We’ll have more on the sentencing in tomorrow’s Bangor Daily News and at bangordailynews.com

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