After pleading guilty to criminally negligent homicide on Jan. 14, a 24-year-old man was sentenced Wednesday to six years in prison.
When Thayr I. Watson is released from prison, he will still be on probation. The court also mandated that Watson apply to participate in the Residential Substance Abuse Treatment program.
Watson's sentencing stems from supplying heroin that killed another man on Aug. 23, 2008.
"I'm hoping that this sentence helps you feel that you are on a correct road for rehabilitation but also speaks to the seriousness of this particular event and the sad and tragic circumstances," Judge Anna Moran said.
Jason McCafferty was found dead in the Soldotna Safeway restroom after ingesting heroin that Watson sold to him.
Randy McCafferty, Jason's father, said he does not hold any grudges, but he also knows nothing will bring back his son.
"I'm not mad at Mr. Watson. I don't want to be bitter about it. But I don't think the prison system can change people around from being greedy for money," McCafferty said. "I think the six years he stays incarcerated will be a learning lesson for him, but after six years he gets out, and I've still got a dead son out there in the graveyard."
The state says this case should remind everyone about the perils of drugs.
"This case is the ultimate example of why not just drugs but drug dealing is so dangerous," said Kelly Lawson of the district attorney's office. "Because of his drug dealing, another person is now dead."
McCafferty expressed similar concerns.
"We never thought living in the Soldotna-Kenai area that there would be such drug dealing going on right under our nose," McCafferty said.
The state and Watson's attorney settled on the negligent homicide charge after weighing the risks of going to trial and examining how Alaska law fits the case.
"Selling these kinds of drugs, this quantity of drugs, it's reckless, it's negligent. It's a criminally negligent homicide," said Watson's attorney Adam Bartlett. "For that reason, the court should accept this charge bargain."
Moran said she hopes Watson can grow as a person following this case.
"There is hope for you to re-learn all the lessons that all of us in our community had to learn. That is that we have to be responsible, we have to be accountable, we cannot be reckless," Moran said. "That is part of growing up and part of responsibility. That's something I think this sentence does encompass."
Andrew Waite can be reached at email@example.com.
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