Muskingum County Prosecutor
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, April 20, 2023
Drug dealer sentenced following overdose death
A Zanesville drug dealer whose sales contributed to the death of another man received a maximum prison sentence of nine to 12 years Monday morning.
Richard McCree appeared with his attorney, L. Toure McCord, as he was sentenced to eight years for corrupting another with drugs to run concurrently to 18 months for trafficking cocaine. An additional year was added consecutive to that sentence for violating the terms of his sexual offender registration in a separate matter.
“Drugs are poison. When you sell poison, people die,” Assistant Prosecutor John Litle said in court. “And that’s what happened here.”
In September, the parents of 44-year-old Andy Marshall reported their son missing after he didn’t show up for work or return home that evening as usual. Not long after filing the report, the victim’s own mother found Marshall’s body inside his car at the beach access parking lot of Dillon State Park.
“This vision will haunt her for the rest of her life,” Marshall’s father previously said in court.
A thorough investigation led by Detective Sergeant Brady Hittle of the Muskingum County Sheriff’s Office quickly linked the fatal overdose of cocaine and fentanyl to Shelbie Mourer, who sold the drugs to Marshall.
In October, Mourer pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter, drug trafficking and tampering with evidence charges. She was sentenced to eight to 12 years in prison.
Detectives continued to investigate and learned that Mourer obtained the cocaine from McCree at his home on Hedgewood Avenue.
Investigators, including detectives with the Zanesville/Muskingum County Joint Drug Unit, went further, pursuing an investigation into McCree, discovering his financial transactions with Mourer, conducting controlled buys of drugs from McCree, and tying the two cases together.
Ohio law makes it a crime to, “by any means, administer or furnish to another or induce or cause another to use a controlled substance, and thereby cause serious physical harm to the other person…” In this case, Richard McCree furnished the cocaine to Marshall by means of Shelbie Mourer.
Although the amount of cocaine found in Marshall’s system was high enough to cause his death, a ruling by the Ohio Fifth District Court of Appeals requires proof that a single transaction caused death for involuntary manslaughter to be charged. In this case, there was a separate drug deal involving fentanyl not provided by McCree, that prevented him from being charged with involuntary manslaughter.
When McCree was arrested, law enforcement learned he failed to register as a sex offender in Ohio for a statutory rape conviction in Mississippi in which he served just five of 20 years.
“Getting a conviction cannot bring back a loved one who has died or really even offer closure to the family of the victim, but it’s been my experience that when a case comes together and those responsible are held to account, where real effort goes into hunting down the dealer, the case can give dignity to the life lost. I hope we were able to achieve that in this case,” Assistant Prosecutor Litle said. “These types of cases are very difficult to investigate and prove; they’re also very time and labor-intensive for law enforcement. As always, the goal is to convince criminals not to sling poison and remind the public that selling dope is not non-violent or victimless. With Mr. Marshall, this case put a face to the victims of drug dealing, and Mourer’s and McCree’s sentences show that victims in our county will receive justice.”
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