BRENTWOOD — A woman accused of giving Fentanyl to a 19-year-old driver who struck and killed two bicyclists along Route 1A in Hampton plans on arguing to a jury that she cannot be held criminally liable for dispensing the drug because she had a prescription for the painkiller.
Cindy Sheppard, 48, notified a judge about her defense on a charge of dispensing a controlled drug just prior to her upcoming trial in Rockingham County Superior Court.
Her trial is scheduled to begin May 19 on five charges, including dispensing a controlled drug while on release and possession of a controlled drug and allowing an improper person to operate a vehicle.
Sheppard allegedly provided a dose of Fentanyl to Darriean Hess, of Seabrook, who is charged with manslaughter, negligent homicide and second-degree assault for allegedly veering a 2002 Honda into a group of cyclists, killing two of them on Sept. 21.
Pamela Wells, 60, and Elise Bouchard, 52, both of Massachusetts, died from their injuries.
Two other cyclists, Uwe Uhmeyer, 60, and Margo Heigh, 54, also of Massachusetts, were injured.
Sheppard faces up to 3½ to 7 years in state prison on each of the drug charges.
Prosecutors say Sheppard also let Hess drive after Hampton police stopped Hess on the same road for speeding and driving without a license.
Allowing Hess to drive after she was stopped by police is a violation-level offense.
Defense lawyer Neil Reardon said in court papers that he will be introducing into evidence records from Walgreens, Anna Jacques Hospital and the Comprehensive Pain Center to show that the Fentanyl was lawfully prescribed to Sheppard.
Sheppard began serving a 3- to 6-year prison sentence in January after pleading guilty to unrelated drug charges.
Sheppard pleaded guilty on Jan. 27 to six felony counts of possession of a controlled drug. Prosecutors said that Sheppard provided Fentanyl to Hess while free on bail in the earlier drug case.
Sheppard, who was known to some of her associates as “Cinderella”, was dealing quantities of heroin, cocaine, crack cocaine, oxycodone, diazepam and methylone from her apartment prior to her arrest, according to prosecutors.