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Teen Sentenced To Probation In Friend's Overdose Death

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RALEIGH, N.C. — A juvenile court judge on Friday sentenced a Cary teen found guilty in the drug overdose death of his friend, Erica Hicks, to 12 months of intensive probation.

Judge Craig Croom on Monday found the 16-year-old guilty of involuntary manslaughter for giving drugs to Hicks, who died in October after ingesting a lethal mix of cocaine, methamphetamine and Ecstasy. The teen admitted that he supplied Hicks with Ecstasy.

Croom, who also ordered the teen to pay part of Hicks' funeral expenses and for his father to attend a parenting class, said that, by law, he couldn't send the teen to prison or a training school.

But the teen, whose identity hasn't been released because he is a juvenile, was ordered to remain in a juvenile detention facility until he could be evaluated in the next few weeks. He has been in detention since January.

At the conclusion of the trial, Croom criticized both the boy's and Hicks' parents for allowing their children to use drugs. Hicks' mother admitted in court that she smoked marijuana with her daughter and the boy the day before her daughter died.

"What's inside your house, you never know," said Ed Hicks, Erica Hicks' father, who is divorced from her mother but still saw his daughter almost daily until her death. "Emotionally, I'm totally drained. My spirit is totally gone right now."

After the teen is evaluated, it will be determined whether he will go to a residential treatment facility or be allowed to return home.

Croom said he had concerns about releasing the teen to the custody of his father because he claimed there were drugs in the house before and he did not want the teen to go back into the same situation.

Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby argued against sending the teen home.

"Our concern all along has been lack of parental supervision and lack of responsibility, and that's why we are in this terrible situation," Willoughby said. "If we put him back into that situation, we couldn't expect things to be any better."

But the teen's attorney, Deborah Newton, said detaining him after the evaluation would be unfair.

"I think it was improper, and I think it indicates (the district attorney is) insistent on sentencing the kid, holding him and punishing him for second-degree murder when he was not convicted of second degree murder," Newton said.


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