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August 19, 2022

Tooele man sentenced to prison in fatal fentanyl overdose lawsuit

A Tooele man who pleaded guilty to manslaughter after selling fentanyl to a woman who later died was sentenced on Tuesday to one to 15 years in the Utah State Prison. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — A Tooele man who pled guilty to manslaughter after selling fentanyl to a woman who later died apologized on Tuesday to the victim, the victim’s mother, his family and society. He said the victim was his “best friend.”

“I made several mistakes, it was a mistake that I have to live with for the rest of my life,” William Camacho Johnson, 45, said.

The 21-year-old woman died on June 10 in Stockton, Tooele County, after taking fentanyl sold to her by Johnson, although charging documents say she believed she had bought and was taking heroin.

Johnson was sentenced on Tuesday to one to 15 years in the Utah State Prison. He will also pay $2,900 in restitution to cover the funeral expenses for the victim.

He pleaded guilty to the manslaughter charge in August. Three other charges of possession and distribution of drugs, first-degree felonies, were dismissed as part of the plea deal.

Johnson asked the court for mercy. His lawyer, Brad Schofield, argued that Johnson should be placed on probation with treatment for drug abuse and help from his family members who want to help him.

“I know that he’s very sad about everything that happened and he wants to try to make up for it,” Schofield said.

But prosecutor Rob Clegg argued that the charge against Johnson merited a prison term. “There’s a price to be paid when somebody dies because of your actions,” he said.

Judge Dianna Gibson agreed and said that at the state prison Johnson will have access to substance abuse treatment and other resources which will help him.

To explain her decision to not put Johnson on probation, Gibson said, “Someone did die as a result of your conduct in this case, and under these circumstances it just does not justify probation. I listened to you. I do hear that you’re remorseful. I do know that this was not intentional, and I do recognize that you are suffering a loss as well.”

The hearing was initially scheduled for the prior week, but the court delayed it after running out of time on other issues. According to Clegg and Schofield, the victim’s widower and Johnson’s family members were in the virtual courtroom for the other scheduled hearing, but they were not present to speak in the hearing on Tuesday.

Johnson was sentenced to a term of up to five years in the Utah State Prison for drug possession and distribution in 2017.

Jacob Lee Allen, 36, was also charged in a separate case regarding the same death after being connected to the event through text messages with Johnson. The text messages showed that Allen and Johnson knew that fentanyl would likely kill a person who purchased the drug from them.

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