Drug dealer’s sentencing delayed in Arizona teen’s fentanyl poisoning death
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - The state health department said last year, nearly 2,000 people died from a drug overdose, and we’re already at more than 1,300 deaths so far this year. At 76% of overdose calls, first responders used naloxone, hoping to save lives.
The Arizona Criminal Justice Commission said fentanyl is the most common substance found in opioid overdose deaths, killing teens as young as 14.
After years of fighting, one Arizona family was expecting to have their day in court this week, as the drug dealer was set to be sentenced for his role in a 16-year-old girl’s death on Tuesday. That hearing has been pushed to next Monday, Nov. 20.
Hannah Pairrett is remembered as an animal lover and honor roll student who dreamed of becoming a nurse. “Miss her a lot,” said her mom, Danya Pairrett Ayers. “There was a beautiful person taken from this world taken way too soon.” Hannah died in 2019 from fentanyl poisoning. “This was murder. Poison. We don’t like to call it an overdose,” said Pairrett Ayers.
Court documents show Michael Fox sold Hannah three blue M-30 pills. Her mom said Hannah thought she was taking Percocet, but the counterfeit drugs were laced with fentanyl. “He knew what he was giving her and he didn’t care,” she said.
A grand jury indicted Fox on distribution of a controlled substance resulting in death and serious bodily injury as well as a separate drug felony charge. He cut a deal, pleading guilty to a lesser offense: distribution of fentanyl. This is a federal case, and the government is asking for an eight-year sentence.
“After a couple of rounds of Narcan and some epi they were able to get a pulse, but by that time she was already braindead,” said Pairrett Ayers.
Pairrett Ayers said her family has been broken ever since, but she said few cases like this have made it as far as Hannah’s has. She pushed hard for law enforcement to act and said she tracked down the drug dealer and gave evidence to police that led to his arrest. “If I can do this than anybody who’s lost their child to this can do it too,” said Pairrett Ayers.
She wants to keep her daughter’s memory alive by helping other families impacted by the fentanyl crisis. She’s become an advocate, working with the Drug Induced Homicide organization and hopes to inspire anyone going through something similar to never give up. “Don’t stop because I didn’t stop,” she said.
Fox is due in court next Monday afternoon for sentencing. Pairrett Ayers said COVID-19 and delays from the defense have pushed this day back multiple times, and once again this week when the defense requested more time to regroup. While nothing will bring back her daughter, she said soon there will be a sense of justice.
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