By Joe Beck
WINCHESTER -- A Winchester woman linked in court records to two deaths by heroin overdose was sentenced Monday in circuit court to four years in prison and four years supervised probation.
Judge John E. Wetsel Jr. imposed the sentence on Danielle Orndorff, 26, of 111 Dakota Trail, after she pleaded no contest to one count of involuntary manslaughter in the death of local musician Brian Bayliss in June. She also pleaded guilty to one count of distribution of heroin.
Authorities say an ambulance crew discovered Bayliss unconscious around 7 a.m. June 10 at Red Velvet Recording Studio at 1011 Berryville Ave. in Winchester. He was pronounced dead about an hour later at Winchester Medical Center.
Orndorff was originally charged with murder in the death of Bayliss.
Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Marc Abrams said in an interview Tuesday that authorities found text messages between Orndorff and Bayliss that played a key part in tying her to his death.
Abrams said the text messages on Bayliss' phone showed he was trying to obtain heroin from Orndorff.
Abrams said the murder charge would have been hard to prove because of a provision in state law that requires authorities to prove a simultaneous connection between time, place and cause of death in drug overdose cases. Abrams said federal law allows prosecutors more leeway in tying together time, place and cause of death.
"I think that would be very useful to us in prosecuting these kinds of cases," Abrams said of the standard available to federal prosecutors.
Orndorff is also facing charges in a second, separate death by drug overdose case. She was charged with manufacturing a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance.
The criminal complaint in the case states that an investigation into the overdose death of Jerry Wayne Sides Jr. on Jan. 25 obtained information that Orndorff had sold him a white powder. Law enforcement officials later executed a search warrant at Orndorff's residence where they found a white powder that field-tested positive for heroin, according to the criminal complaint.
Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or email@example.com