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Home » News » Crime

October 21. 2013 9:42PM

Portsmouth woman sentenced 8 years to life for causing fatal heroin overdose

Jennifer Landry, 42, of Portsmouth was sentenced 8 years to life in prison on Monday after pleading guilty to giving a fatal dose of heroin to 22-year-old Svetlana Fillippenko. (JAMES A. KIMBLE PHOTO)

BRENTWOOD — A Portsmouth woman sobbed through an apology in court on Monday prior to being sentenced to spend 8 years to life in prison for giving a fatal dose of heroin to 22-year-old Svetlana Fillippenko.

“I have a daughter almost the same age,” said Jennifer Landry, 42, before pleading guilty on Monday in Rockingham County Superior Court to charges that included sale of a controlled drug with death resulting.

Fillippenko bought $45 worth of heroin from Landry on Nov. 20 and was found dead in her home the next day, according to prosecutors.

The state medical examiner concluded that her death was caused by “acute heroin intoxication.”

Landry’s plea to a litany of charges included a pair of probation violations and a previous drug possession charge prior to dispensing the heroin that killed Fillippenko.“I am so sorry you have all had to go through this and I am honestly facing the wreckage of my past, owning in my part in all this,” Landry added. “I live every day facing the consequences of my action.”Landry’s public defender Brett Newkirk told Judge Marguerite Wageling that his client hoped that Fillippenko’s parents — who did not attend the hearing — could be given her statement.

Newkirk said Landry accepted responsibility for her actions from the moment she was arrested late last year.

“She has done each and every thing she could to better herself and allowed justice to be had for the family,” Newkirk said.

Police interviewed friends of Fillippenko, and used text messages collected from Landry’s cell phone to identify her as the person who sold the heroin, according to court records.

Landry allegedly told Fillippenko in one message that the heroin was “twice as strong” and warned her to be careful with it, according to police.

Assistant County Attorney Patricia Conway said that Fillippenko’s father agreed with the negotiated plea deal. Conway said the victim’s mother has been too overcome by grief to participate in the plea discussions.

“She wanted us to do what we thought was appropriate, but really didn’t want to be involved in the legal process,” Conway said.

Wageling said she was “sad for the family who lost someone dear to them” and told Landry it was her job to tell people now about the consequences of her actions.

“The behavior you engaged in and had been engaging in was so very risky and very destructive,” Wageling told Landry. “And the ultimate price was paid by somebody else who sadly had joined you in taking part in this destructive behavior.”

Landry was given consecutive, suspended 1½- to 3-year prison sentences on two probation violations and an earlier drug charge. She has already spent 361 days in county jail, which will count toward her prison sentence.

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