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Deerfield man may be charged in sale of fatal heroin dose

Union Leader Correspondent

August 27. 2013 8:47PM

BRENTWOOD — A Deerfield man may soon be indicted for allegedly providing a 29-year-old man a fatal dose of heroin.

Joshua Leighton, 31, is currently being held on $100,000 bail stemming from his July 25 arrest for allegedly providing heroin that killed James O’Rourke, 29, of Deerfield.

O’Rourke died at his home on Jan. 4.

Court documents indicate that Leighton will likely be indicted on a charge of sale of a controlled drug with death resulting in connection with O’Rourke’s death.

The charge carries a similar penalty to a second-degree murder conviction in New Hampshire. Leighton could face up to life in prison if he is convicted by a jury.

Prosecutors recently told a judge that the case against Leighton could be joined with other charges he now faces in Rockingham County Superior Court.

A grand jury indicted Leighton in May for allegedly being in possession of a quantity of heroin on Jan. 10.

He also faces a single count of witness tampering for trying to induce a woman named Katelynn Giuffre to not speak to investigators between Jan. 31 and Feb. 9, according to prosecutors.

Leighton wrote a letter to the woman “instructing her on what to say and requesting that she meet with him so they could make up a story,” an indictment says.

Giuffre, 20, who has the same address as Leighton, was indicted alongside him in May for possessing heroin, according to court records. She has not been charged in the O’Rourke case. Her drug charge is scheduled for trial in January.

Leighton was freed on bail following his indictment in May, but was arrested again in July by Deerfield police in connection with O’Rourke’s death.

Judge Marguerite Wageling ordered prosecutors last week to make a plea offer to Leighton by Friday. But Leighton will have up to Dec. 5 to decide whether to plead guilty or move forward with a trial. The trial on the earlier set of charges is scheduled for the week of Dec. 16.

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