Police charge alleged heroin dealer in Gates with criminally negligent homicide
Gates, N.Y. (WHAM) - For the first time, the Gates Police department is charging an alleged drug dealer for negligent criminal homicide.
The suspect, 31-year-old Dominic Hobbs, is charged with selling the deadly dose of heroin that killed 41-year-old Tara Miles last week.
Miles was found dead in her home due to a heroin overdose Friday morning.
Her family agreed with police to keep her death quiet for 48 hours while they investigated.
Officers set up undercover deal and allegedly bought cocaine and heroin on Saturday from Dominic Hobbs.
"This heroin is outright poison and the people selling it are the agents of death,' said Gates Police Chief James VanBrederode.
The homicide charge is a Class E Felony, but a bill currently in the New York State Senate would upgrade that and potentially carry a life sentence.
"The people selling that poison, that death, know what they're doing," said Senator Joe Robach (R, Gates).
Some defense attorneys tell 13 WHAM that homicide charge is unlikely to hold up in court.
"The don't know the dosage that they're going to use. They don't know what the intent is with the drugs," said Attorney Sarah Wesley.
Wesley cited a 1972 Appellate Court decision that ruled drug dealers are not responsible if the drug sold results in a death.
"There's about 48 cases that cite that original decision," said Wesley. "Sometimes the court of public opinion is ahead of legislation."
Regardless of the legal questions, Chief VanBrederode said Tuesday it's time to increase focus on the heroin epidemic. A process he said can start at home.
"It's poison. If you don't get your loved one into some kind of treatment they will die," said VanBrederode.
Hobbs is also a suspect in another heroin overdose in another town according to VanBrederode. Police say they were able to save the victim that night. The case is being overseen by the Monroe County Sheriff's Office.
Anyone with any information about Hobbs should come forward and call 911 or Crime Stoppers at 423-9300.