Three plead guilty in heroin overdose cases

Three more defendants have agreed to plead guilty in U.S. District Court in Harrisonburg in two cases involving heroin overdoses, one that took the life of the victim and another that resulted in serious injury.

Dennis Keith Getz, 38, of Winchester, faces a possible prison sentence of 18 1/2 years under the plea agreement he filed, the most severe penalty of the three. A co-defendant, Brandi Nicole Marple, 29, also of Winchester, agreed to a recommended sentence of 9 1/2 years.

Donna Jean Jenkins, a co-defendant in a separate case, has agreed to plead guilty in exchange for a recommended sentence of eight to 15 years.

All three defendants have pleaded guilty to distribution of heroin.

A statement of facts filed in the Getz-Marple case identifies them as suppliers of heroin for a male who was found dead at a residence in Winchester on the morning of April 1.

Law enforcement officials found the victim’s cell phone next to him on the floor.

The statement of facts states that the text messages and contacts on the cell phone showed that the victim discussed buying $100 of heroin from Marple and a time and location for the transaction.

The statement of facts reports that Marple later confessed to law enforcement officials that she and Getz had gone to Baltimore to obtain the heroin that was sold to the victim.

The statement of facts said that Marple admitted going to Baltimore regularly with Getz – an estimated 10 to 15 times – where he would buy .141 to .352 ounces of heroin at a time. The pair also obtained heroin in Martinsburg, West Virginia, on 10 to 15 trips, the statement of facts said.

Getz’s plea agreement shows that he was convicted of other heroin-related offenses in Frederick County dating back to 2007.

Baltimore as a source of heroin also figured prominently in Jenkins’ case.

A statement of facts reported that Jenkins and a co-defendant, Stephanie Diane Alkire, traveled to Baltimore to obtain heroin on April 5 and gave it to a woman later in the day. The woman overdosed and barely survived after EMTs at the scene administered Narcan, a drug for countering the effects of heroin.

Alkire has already pleaded guilty in the case.

A bill that would make it easier for state prosecutors to convict heroin dealers under a charge of second-degree murder if their product injures or kills someone passed the House of Delegates earlier this week and is now under consideration in the Senate.

Virginia State Police Sgt. Jay Perry said in an interview Friday that Baltimore continues to be the main supply source for local heroin dealers. Perry, who is the coordinator for the Northwest Virginia Regional Drug Task Force, said dealers bring several grams of heroin back to the area with each trip they make.

“We’re trying to work our cases up to the suppliers in Baltimore and working with the federal courts to try and prosecute those cases,” Perry said.

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com