Prosecutor drops 'with death resulting' charge against alleged dealer

LACONIA — The Belknap County Attorney's Office will not prosecute a Manchester man for allegedly supplying the heroin that killed a 22-year-old woman when she overdosed in late March of 2011. Jury selection for his trial was scheduled to begin yesterday.

Alfredo Gonzales, 46, of Center Street was charged with one special felony count of sales of heroin with death resulting for allegedly providing the heroin to Karen Mikkelson, who sold it to Ashley Denty, who died of an overdose in 2011. He still faces a separate count of sales of heroin but the potential sentence for sales is less than that for sales "with death resulting". A jury was selected yesterday to hear that case and opening arguments are scheduled for September 16.

Mikkelson, Steven Marando, and Amanda Kelly, all formerly of Laconia, pleaded guilty in their roles in Denty's death and are either serving or have served sentences in the Belknap County House of Corrections or the N.H. State Prison.

As of Friday, Mikkelson and Marando were listed as people who are scheduled to testify against Gonzales for the state.

In a motion filed last week by Gonzales's attorney Mark Sisti and argued last Friday, Sisti asked the court to dismiss both charges against his client because he recently learned the Laconia Police were investigating a different person who claimed on Facebook that he was the one who actually administered the heroin to Denty.

Sisti said the information from the new investigation could exonerate his client but was withheld from him until August 29. He said the investigation by Laconia Police began in March and the County Attorney's Office was aware of it in July but chose to tell him about it less than one week before jury selection.

After listening to both sides, Judge James O'Neill ordered on Friday that jury selection would continue as planned. He agreed to give Asst. County Atty. Carley Ahern until yesterday to answer Sisti's motions.

O'Neill heard additional arguments yesterday but has not ruled on the final motion to dismiss the sales of heroin charge.

Gonzales has one Texas conviction for selling drugs. Earlier this year, a jury found him not guilty of selling drugs in an unrelated case to a Laconia Police confidential informant. That trial lasted three days and the jury rendered their not guilty verdict in less than an hour.