Joshua Morrison/News Richard Cantu, left, is led out of the courtroom after being placed in cuffs by Common Pleas Court Bailiff David Lashley and Knox County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Jason Stachler. Cantu pleaded with Judge Richard Wetzel to spend more time with his family before exiting the courtroom.

Joshua Morrison/Mount Vernon News

Richard Cantu, left, is led out of the courtroom after being placed in cuffs by Common Pleas Court Bailiff David Lashley and Knox County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Jason Stachler. Cantu pleaded with Judge Richard Wetzel to spend more time with his family before exiting the courtroom. Request this photo

 

MOUNT VERNON — A Mount Vernon man charged with involuntary manslaughter pleaded guilty Thursday in a hearing in Knox County Common Pleas Court.

Richard A. Cantu, 23, of Mount Vernon, withdrew his former plea of not guilty on the first-degree felony charge of involuntary manslaughter and then pleaded guilty.

A joint sentencing recommendation of three years was agreed upon by attorney John Dankovich, representing Cantu, and Knox County Prosecuting Attorney Chip McConville.

After Cantu entered the plea, Judge Richard D. Wetzel revoked Cantu’s bond, ordered a pre-sentence investigation (PSI) and sent him to jail to wait for the PSI to be completed.

The charge was one of several that stemmed from the overdose death of Dezerae Steigerwald on Aug. 21, 2017. Cantu was also charged with the second-degree felony of corrupting another with drugs and two counts of tampering with evidence, both third-degree felonies. Those charges were dismissed.

According to McConville, the involuntary manslaughter charge comes from Cantu providing Steigerwald with synthetic marijuana, known as Spice, laced with Fentanyl. The mix of the drugs caused Steigerwald’s death, McConville said.

The potential sentence for the involuntary manslaughter charge is between three and 11 years in prison and a maximum $20,000 fine.
Cantu will be sentenced on March 7.

 

John Wareham: 740-397-5333 or john.wareham@mountvernonnews.com and on Twitter, @

 

 

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