The mother of a 21-year-old Pasco man who was killed by heroin given to him by a Richland dealer asked the court to hold the dealer responsible to the fullest extent of the law.
Brian Haney Burt, who admitted he gave heroin to Derek Scott Bradley, was sentenced to five years in prison Tuesday for Bradley's death.
"I am not a vengeful person, but I do want justice," wrote Christina M. Bradley, Derek Scott Bradley's mother, in a letter that was read by family friend Valerie Bragg.
Burt pleaded guilty to the 2010 deaths of Bradley and Shirley E. Sanders, 44, of Kennewick. And police and prosecutors have linked him to at least three other fatal overdoses.
The cases fall under a rarely used law that says a person can be charged for unlawfully delivering a controlled substance that kills someone.
A second charge for Liam D. Hermsen's death in November 2009 was dismissed as a part of the negotiations.
Authorities also allegedly linked Burt to Jason Brickey's death in October 2008, but were barred by the statute of limitations from charging him with it because the death was more than three years old.
Documents also suggested that he may have been connected to the May 2009 death of Natasha Eubanks of Pasco.
Burt will serve the five years for Derek Scott Bradley's death at the same time he serves five years for the death of Sanders. He was sentenced in Benton County Superior Court for Sanders' death last week.
Christina M. Bradley said her son's father had died suddenly three years ago, and Derek Scott Bradley suppressed his grief with drugs. But her son did seek help, including entering a detox program.
At the time of his death, he was not using heroin, his mother said. The only needle mark on him was the one that killed him.
She said her son expressed concern about his personal safety. He was worried his former suppliers might consider him a snitch.
Burt brought heroin to Bradley's home sometime between June 30, 2010, and July 2, 2010. They injected the drug, and a short time later, Burt found Bradley nodding off on the couch and believed he was very high at the time, court documents said.
Burt took a shower and got dressed, and that is when he allegedly found Bradley on the floor in front of the couch, "cool to the touch and getting stiff." He reportedly panicked and left the house without contacting authorities.
Christina M. Bradley said she never will forget finding her son on his living room floor two days after he died. She said she is angry that Burt and the people who stole from her son's home after he died let him lie there decomposing.
The maximum sentence of five years does not equal the lives Burt has stolen, Christina M. Bradley said.
She asked the court keep Burt imprisoned or under supervision for the rest of his life and said she doesn't believe Burt can be rehabilitated.
"I believe that this remorseless criminal will never stop hurting people so long as he lives," she said.
Burt reportedly knew that people were dying from his "high-quality" heroin during the past few years, yet he kept delivering it to feed his own addiction.
Burt's attorney Gary Metro said Burt is a drug addict and had no intention of murdering anyone.
When asked if he wanted to say anything before sentencing, Burt said, "Just that I am sorry."
Superior Court Judge Robert Swisher, who has presided over Burt's case in both counties, told Burt on Tuesday that it was up to him to seek treatment for his heroin addiction while in prison.
"You are responsible for several deaths," he said. "It seems to me that would be incentive."