Joshua Morrison/News Richard Cantu, 23, was led out of the Knox County Common Pleas courtroom by Deputy Rob Ray after being sentenced to five years for the first degree felony of involuntary manslaughter of Dezerae Steigerwald. Cantu was emotional throughout the victim impact statement portions of Thursday’s proceedings.

Joshua Morrison/News

Richard Cantu, 23, was led out of the Knox County Common Pleas courtroom by Deputy Rob Ray after being sentenced to five years for the first degree felony of involuntary manslaughter of Dezerae Steigerwald.

MOUNT VERNON — A Mount Vernon man who had been jailed after pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter was sentenced to prison in the Knox County Court of Common Pleas on Thursday.

Richard A. Cantu, 23, was sentenced to five years in prison after he was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter, a first-degree felony on Jan. 31.

The conviction stems from an incident Aug. 21, 2017, where Cantu had supplied Dezerae Steigerwald with synthetic marijuana that was laced with fentanyl and it caused her death.

Several members of the victim’s family spoke before the sentencing and detailed some of Cantu’s actions prior to the trial.

Steigerwald’s grandmother read from her impact statement and explained that Cantu had bitten off part of Steigerwald’s finger during a dispute and he had a history of drug use and domestic violence. The victim’s father then spoke about not only losing his daughter, but also his unborn grandchild.

After hearing the prosecution’s sentencing recommendation of a three-year prison sentence, Judge Richard Wetzel increased it to five, calling Cantu a ‘threat to the community.’

Cantu was also given five years of post release control and ordered to pay Steigerwald’s funeral costs — as restitution — and court costs.

 

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

 

 

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