Man sentenced for role in heroin overdose deaths

By Joe Beck

A Winchester man who provided heroin that led to fatal overdoses for his father and his father’s girlfriend was sentenced Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Harrisonburg to 14 years in prison.

The sentencing of Thomas Allen Breeden, 27, came after he pleaded guilty in early July to one charge of distribution of heroin. Breeden’s sentence also included five years supervised probation.

A statement of facts filed in the case traces the deaths of Barbara Jones, 42, and Christopher Heller, 49, on June 10, 2013 to heroin that Breeden had bought earlier in the day in Baltimore.

Breeden told authorities that he had been trying to “rebuild” his relationship with his father after Heller’s recent release from prison, court records stated.

Frederick County Sheriff’s Office deputies, responding to a 911 call from Breeden, arrived at the Winchester Budget Motel at 1350 North Frederick Pike shortly after 10 p.m., according to the statement of facts.

Heller and Jones had turned blue and were no longer breathing, court documents state.

Winchester police Lt. Wally Stotlemyer was told by Breeden, who was at the scene, that he had bought a gram of heroin in Baltimore for $125 and shared it with Heller and Jones at the motel room later in the day, according to the statement of facts.

The statement of facts gives the following account of what happened after Heller, Jones and Breeden used the heroin and Breeden left the room: “Upon his return, Breeden noticed Heller lying on the floor unconscious. Heller was breathing but could not be awakened. While Breeden was trying to wake Heller, he observed Jones walk into the bathroom and then heard a loud thump. Breeden went into the bathroom and saw Jones unconscious but still breathing.”

After his efforts to revive Jones failed, Breeden tried to awaken both victims by splashing cold water on their faces and wrapping cold wet towels around their necks for 20 to 30 minutes, according to the statement of facts.

Breeden called 911 after ending his efforts to awaken the victims, the court documents state.

The execution of a search warrant later in the night led to law enforcement officials recovering a syringe, spoon, red arm band, 25 pills, three glass smoking devices and a pack of unused syringes, according to the statement of facts.

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or

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