Westerville News & Public Opinion

Woman, 26, sentenced in connection to fatal overdose


A 26-year-old Westerville woman was sentenced Monday, Jan. 7 to five years in prison for injecting a man with a fatal dose of heroin.

Emily N. Thacker of S. Otterbein Avenue pleaded guilty to one count of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Russell Ronske, 37.

Franklin County Common Pleas Judge Charles A. Schneider imposed the sentence, which was recommended by the prosecution and defense as part of a plea agreement.

Thacker injected Ronske at her boyfriend's apartment on East Home Street in Westerville after a night of partying there and at a nearby bar on March 25, Assistant Franklin County Prosecutor Joseph Gibson said. Thacker also gave Ronske's girlfriend, Heather D. Harms, a heroin injection. Both suffered overdoses. Ronske died in the emergency room of Mount Carmel St. Ann's hospital. Harms nearly died, Westerville police said.

An autopsy listed the cause of Ronske's death as acute heroin intoxication.

"I'm sorry that everything unfolded the way it did," Thacker said before sentencing.

Her attorney, Blaise Baker, told the judge "it was not anticipated" that his client's actions "would harm these people."

Schneider expressed amazement that "so many young people" get involved with drugs and "believe there won't be any harmful consequences when these stories are told day after day after day."

Thacker was credited with the 201 days she has served in jail since her arrest. Prosecutors dismissed two counts of corrupting another with drugs and two counts of heroin trafficking in exchange for the guilty plea.