2 of 4 charged with aiding heroin death of young mom now in prison

  • Published in Local News

LACONIA — Two of the four people charged in connection with the heroin overdose death of a young city woman nearly one year ago have been sentenced to jail and two others are awaiting trial.

Karen Mekkelsen, 28, was sentenced by Judge James Barry Jr. last week to serve no more than 30 years and no less than 15 years for conspiring to sell the late Ashley Denty the heroin that caused her death last March 30. Five years of the minimum portion of her sentence is suspended provided ...

LACONIA — Two of the four people charged in connection with the heroin overdose death of a young city woman nearly one year ago have been sentenced to jail and two others are awaiting trial.

Karen Mekkelsen, 28, was sentenced by Judge James Barry Jr. last week to serve no more than 30 years and no less than 15 years for conspiring to sell the late Ashley Denty the heroin that caused her death last March 30. Five years of the minimum portion of her sentence is suspended provided she be of good behavior and participate into an intensive outpatient drug and alcohol program.

Last year, Stephen Marando, 51, formerly of Valley Street was sentenced to three to 10 years in N.H. State Prison after pleading guilty to his role in providing heroin to the 23-year-old mother of a two-year-old boy.

Two others, Amanda Kelly, 22, of 301A Court St. and Mekkelsen’s alleged boyfriend Alfredo Gonzales, 44, who had addresses in both Laconia and Manchester, have yet to stand trial.

Denty's body was found in her Union Ave. apartment by a neighbor after he passed by the door of her apartment and heard her two-year-old son crying. The neighbor was able to tell the young boy how to unlock the door and he called police after he found Denty lying on the floor.

People who knew Denty said she was a Laconia native who had fallen in with the wrong crowd. Described as a really kind and loving person, her friends said she was trying to turn her life around but was unable to shake her drug addiction.

According to a variety of police arrest and search affidavits, Mekkelsen provided the heroin to Marando who then sold it to Denty. Affidavits indicate Kelly was a friend of both Marando and Denty and allegedly acted as the conduit between them.

Kelly is charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute heroin resulting in death and is scheduled to go to trial in May. The indictment indicated Kelly was allegedly the one who knew Mekkelson was selling heroin and allegedly told Denty in a text message recovered by police that she could find Mekkelson at Marando’s house.

Police said Mekkelson had 26 bags of heroin in her possession when police arrested her at her apartment in May of 2011 and had apparently continued to sell heroin until her arrest by Laconia Police.

Gonzales was arrested by Laconia Police in September and is allegedly both Mekkelsen’s boyfriend and the one who supplied her with the heroin she sold in and around Laconia.

Police affidavits said that Gonales was providing Mekkelson with about 600 bags of heroin weekly or $2,000 daily until he temporarily moved to Texas after Denty’s death. She allegedly told police she would get the heroin already diluted from Gonzales but that in the days immediately preceding Denty’s death, he had reduced the “cut” or increased the heroin levels because of complaints he and Mekkelsen allegedly got from those who purchased the drugs from them.

Mekkelsen told police she didn’t know where Gonzales got the heroin or where he stored it, telling them only that she thought he buried it in the ground somewhere.

Gonzales is being held on $500,000 cash only bail in Belknap County jail. No date has been set for his trial.