A Vancouver man was sentenced Friday to more than two years in prison for selling a friend drugs that caused his fatal overdose.
David A. Urbach, 24, pleaded guilty Dec. 10 to second-degree manslaughter in Clark County Superior Court. He was originally charged with controlled substance homicide. Judge Suzan Clark sentenced him to 27 months, at the high end of the standard sentencing range.
At about 5:15 a.m. May 29, 2020, Vancouver police responded to 23-year-old LaJeune Q. Gay’s residence in the 13100 block of Northeast 26th Street, after Gay’s brother reported his death. Gay’s girlfriend, Zoe Williams, told officers that she believed he died after consuming a light-blue pill he got from Urbach the night before, according to an affidavit of probable cause.
Senior Deputy Prosecutor Toby Krauel told the judge Friday that the Clark County Medical Examiner’s Office found Gay had three times the lethal level of fentanyl in his body when he died.
Urbach said in court records that he did not know the pills had fentanyl in them.
Gay’s mother spoke about her son during Friday’s hearing and was escorted, sobbing, from the courtroom.
Urbach also cried while he apologized to his friend’s family.
“I’m so sorry for what happened,” he said. “He was an amazing guy, and I’m so sorry you had to go through that. I was at work when I got the call and — like his mother said she didn’t believe it — I didn’t believe it either. I will never sell to anybody, and I’m so sorry that this happened.”
Urbach’s attorney, Therese Lavallee, said the incident happened before there was much public awareness in the area about the dangers of fentanyl.
In court records, Williams said her aunt text messaged her the night before Gay’s overdose and asked if she knew where she could get some pills. Williams told Gay, and he contacted Urbach. Her aunt requested three “percs,” also known as Percocet, and was quoted a price.
The couple then drove to the aunt’s residence, collected her money and drove to Urbach’s residence to purchase the pills. Gay showed Williams he actually had obtained four pills, described as being round and light blue. Gay took one of the pills and delivered the remaining three to Williams’ aunt, according to court documents.
Gay and Williams then returned to Gay’s residence, where he consumed alcohol and appeared to become drowsy, Williams said. She did not see him consume the pill, she said, but she assumed his drowsiness was an effect of the pill. She fell asleep and later awoke to find Gay dead, the affidavit states. (Police had also responded to Williams’ aunt’s residence that morning for an overdose death investigation. Urbach was not charged in her death, however.)
An investigator with the medical examiner’s office was shown Facebook messages on Gay’s cellphone between him and Urbach, court records say.
Urbach reportedly told Gay: “And you gotta be super careful with these. They are dumb strong. Like take it slow (as expletive). Small lines. I don’t wanna lose a bro,” the message reads, according to the affidavit.
A search of Urbach’s residence turned up small, clear plastic bags, with Playboy bunnies printed on one side, that matched the bag containing the pills found at Williams’ aunt’s residence, according to court documents.
Investigators have said that counterfeit oxycodone pills laced with fentanyl are being sold throughout Clark County.