Judge upholds life sentence in heroin death case

Judge upholds life sentence in heroin death case

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A judge's decision to send a man convicted of giving his girlfriend a deadly dose of heroin to prison for the rest of his life stands.

Jarret McCasland's attorney went before 19th Judicial District Court Judge Don Johnson on Monday to try to get his client's sentence reduced.

McCasland's family dressed in white. They wore buttons depicting what they had come back to court to get, Justice for Jarret. On Monday, they learned he would never return home.

"He's paying the price to set the example for sure," said his sister, Brittany Monroe.

McCasland's dad, Douglas, also left court frustrated.

"It looked like a waste of time for me. If you get targeted by the district attorney's office, you pretty much don't have a whole lot you can do about it," Douglas McCasland said.

In November, an East Baton Rouge jury unanimously found Jarret McCasland guilty of giving his girlfriend, Flavia Cardenas, 19, a lethal dose of heroin. Prosecutors pointed to McCasland's record, which shows "a long history of drug dealing including another arrest in Ascension Parish."

District Attorney Hillar Moore said cell phone records show McCasland "sold heroin to someone after Cardenas died."

"This is simply someone who has not accepted responsibility," Moore said.

In February, McCasland was sentenced to life in prison by Judge Johnson. McCasland's relatives and his attorney said Louisiana's law, which calls for a mandatory life sentence for adults found guilty of distributing heroin, is excessive and needs to be rewritten.

"You don't treat a disease with incarceration, you treat it with treatment," Douglas McCasland said.

Moore acknowledges heroin is an epidemic and he said, in this case, the jury made the right decision.

McCasland's father said he has hired a new lawyer to appeal the jury's verdict.

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