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Woman indicted in OD death case


By Tom Marshall
Senior Advocate writer

A Frenchburg woman has been charged in a superseding indictment with second-degree manslaughter for allegedly providing the drugs that resulted in a fatal overdose of a local woman in November 2002.
The indictment against Lacey Nicole Ross, 23, was returned by the Montgomery County Grand Jury April 26.

She is scheduled to be arraigned May 24 in Montgomery County Circuit Court.

According to a release from the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, it concluded an investigation of Ross in February 2023 that resulted in multiple counts of alleged drug trafficking, including methamphetamine and fentanyl.

Ross has been incarcerated at the Montgomery County Regional Jail since the time of her arrest, the release said.

April 26, the release said detectives presented newer evidence reportedly linking Ross to the overdose death of who is identified as Hannah Newkirk of Mt. Sterling in the indictment, which resulted in the manslaughter indictment.

Ross reportedly referred to Newkirk as her best friend in text messages with other individuals, according to an investigative report filed by sheriff’s Det./Sgt. Robert Workman.

In the messages, Ross allegedly admits providing drugs to Newkirk shortly before her death, the report claims.

Newkirk reportedly died as result of a drug overdose Nov. 25, 2022, at an apartment at 305 Richmond Ave. Several items of alleged drug paraphernalia were reportedly found near her body, the report claims.

According to the report, the immediate cause of death stated on the Kentucky Certificate of Death was the reported combined toxic effects of fentanyl, norfentanyl with 4 ANPP present.

Ross was initially arrested Feb. 17, 2023, as authorities investigated alleged drug trafficking from a residence on Antwerp Avenue, the report says.

A day after her arrest, Workman’s report notes that deputies were called to the jail on a report of an overdose involving a female inmate. The inmate was revived using two doses of narcan, the report said.
Jail staff allegedly found 11.71 grams of suspected heroin and 17.23 grams of suspected methamphetamine on Ross’s person, according to the report.

The drugs were reportedly hidden in a body cavity, the report claims.
Feb. 19, the sheriff’s office was notified by jail staff that a small clear bag containing a blue powder had been found on an inmate. The inmate claimed Ross gave her the suspected narcotics which had allegedly been hidden in a body cavity, according to the report.

The drugs were allegedly consistent with those found on Ross previously, the report claims.

The sheriff’s office obtained a search warrant for Ross’s cell phone regarding the alleged sale/purchase of narcotics, images of narcotics and payments, according to the report.
That’s where authorities allegedly found messages involving Newkirk, the report said.

Second-degree manslaughter is a class C felony punishable by five to 10 years imprisonment if convicted.
The other charges in the indictment accuse her of allegedly committing several offenses Feb. 17, 2023.

Those include first-degree, first offense, trafficking in a controlled substance-carfentanil of fentanyl derivatives, first-degree promoting contraband, possession of drug paraphernalia, first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, more than or equal to two grams of methamphetamine and tampering with physical evidence.

The indictment alleges that on that date Ross trafficked in 9.459 grams of a flurofentanyl and fentanyl mixture and 13.951 grams of methamphetamine, according to the indictment.
The drug trafficking charges are class C felonies, each punishable by five to 10 years imprisonment.

The indictment also alleges that Ross was in possession of a controlled substance while being in a secure area at the MCRJ.
The promoting contraband charge is a class D felony punishable by one to five years imprisonment.

The indictment alleges that Ross possessed a digital scale and glass pipe, which constituted the drug paraphernalia charge, a misdemeanor.
The tampering charge alleges that “she believing that an official proceeding is pending or may be instituted, destroyed, mutilated, concealed, removed or altered physical evidence which one believes is about to be produced or used in the official proceeding.”
The tampering charge is a class D felony punishable by one to five years imprisonment.

An indictment is a formal accusation of a crime, but does not establish guilt.