By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — The man accused of selling fentanyl to a 21-year-old Tilton man who died of an overdose filed a sealed document in the Belknap County Superior Court Tuesday indicating his willingness to plead guilty.
Brian Watson, 51, formerly of Northfield, had been scheduled for a final pretrial and a hearing on some pending motions Monday but was given a plea-and-sentencing date of Nov. 7.
Watson's case was scheduled for trial on Sept. 12 and the jury was scheduled to be selected next Monday.
Watson allegedly sold fentanyl to Seth Tilton-Fogg, who was found dead of an overdose in his family home in the morning of April 3, 2015. He was arrested and charged by Tilton Police on May 8 after an intense investigation.
Since his arrest, Watson's attorney, Mark Sisti, has filed a number of motions to eliminate much of the state's evidence but did not prevail on a pivotal attempt to stop a jury from hearing a 30-minute interview with Tilton detectives in which Watson made a number of incriminating statements.
In addition, one of the state's key witnesses against him was his former girlfriend, Teeana Bryson, who was given immunity in November so she could testify against him. Although she failed to show up for a few hearings in court, she was compelled by the court to testify at this trial.
According to an article published in The Portland Press Herald by Associated Press writer Kathleen Ronayne, the crime is punishable by life in prison, although the court takes each case, including Watson's, individually.
While it has been for a number of years, Ronayne spoke to the New Hampshire Attorney General Joseph Foster, who said this type of crime is being charged and prosecuted more vigorously now, especially in cases where fentanyl is involved, because of the recent opioid epidemic sweeping the country.
Fentanyl is a synthetic version of heroin and is known to be far more powerful than heroin. In his statements to Tilton Police, Watson told them he knew he was selling Tilton-Fogg fentanyl and warned him not to use too much. Watson told police he knew it was fentanyl because it smelled differently than heroin.
In August, County Attorney Melissa Guldbrandsen received permission from the Belknap County commissioners to apply for a grant from the New Hampshire Department of Justice for $5,500 to pay for expert witness fees to bring an expert witness from NMS Labs in Pennsylvania to testify in the case.
Sisti planned on challenging the evidence at trial because the state medical examiner had sent a sample of Tilton-Fogg's blood to Pennsylvania for an analysis that determined he died of "acute fentanyl poisoning."
- Category: Local News
- Hits: 999