Youngsville woman sentenced for death due to fentanyl overdose

Stephanie S. Kightlinger is pictured being taken into Warren County Court for arraignment.

A Youngsville woman is headed to state prison for delivering fentanyl-laced drugs to an individual who died as a result.

Stephanie S. Kightlinger, 27, was sentenced Friday by President Judge Maureen Skerda.

The criminal complaint alleges that “Kightlinger did deliver and give suspected fentanyl to another person resulting in death.”

According to the affidavit, Kightlinger used Facebook Messenger “to facilitate a drug transaction.”

After interviews, police were told that “Kightlinger had “purchased and delivered the pills to the deceased male.”

“After the male’s passing, officers were notified that circular blue pills … that had an ‘M’ imprint on them … were found,” according to the affidavit.

Police interviewed Kightlinger on Jan. 24, according to the affidavit. “The defendant admitted to purchasing and delivering the above pills to the deceased just prior to his death.”

“This is a sad case for everyone,” Kightlinger’s attorney, Elizabeth Feronti, said.

Feronti said that Kightlinger was friends with the male and called the outcome “something Ms. Kightlinger never intended.”

Kightlinger wrote a letter to the family of the victim that Feronti read in court.

“Nothing I say will bring him back,” Kighlinger acknowledged, but stressed she had “no intentions…. I had no idea about anything.”

She wrote that she knows that her actions have damaged the family of the victim.

“I know she feels that way,” Feronti said.

First Assistant District Attorney Cody Brown agreed that this is a “very sad situation.”

He pointed out that the victim will not be able to be a father, be at weddings and see his future grandchildren. Skerda said that the “concern for the court” was the result rather than “whether or not you knew” the pills contained fentanyl.

“I can see you as someone who is remorseful,” she added. But the conduct “call(s) for a state sentence in this court’s opinion.”

Kightlinger was then sentenced to 9 to 24 months incarceration, two years probation, $2,786.62 in restitution, $2,475 in fines and fees, a no contact order with four victims, submission of a DNA sample and priority for mental health treatment in state prison on a count of possession with intent to deliver. She was given credit for 158 days time served.

A count of involuntary manslaughter brought an additional 12 to 12 months incarceration.

Kightlinger wasn’t the only defendant sentenced Friday for a role in distributing blue pills that contained fentanyl.

Matthew J. Kemper, 27, Edinboro, was also sentenced Friday on charges of possession with intent to deliver and criminal use of a communications facility.

Warren County Drug Task Force agents, assisted by officers from Conewango Township Police, City of Warren Police, Warren County Sheriff’s Office, Warren County Adult Probation, Warren County District Attorney’s Office, and Department of Homeland Security Investigations, arrested Kemper near Struthers Street in Warren after he allegedly drove there to sell drugs – M30 pills.

Chief Public Defender Kord Kinney notes that Kemper’s entire record is tied to substance abuse issues.

Brown linked this case with the Kightlinger case to show the effect these pills can have.

He explained that Kemper was serving a sentence on additional possession with intent to deliver charges when caught in this case.

Brown said Kemper was “not charged with crimes of a drug user but as a drug dealer.”

Kemper told the court that his drug of choice was fentanyl and Skerda said that meant he was “on a suicide mission.”

Brown requested – and Skerda granted – that a count of possession with intent to deliver be sentenced in the aggravated range of the sentencing guidelines due to Kemper’s dealing while serving another sentence for dealing.

Skerda told Kemper that he was given the benefit of living in the community and “during that time you chose to deal.”

She then sentenced Kemper to 14-28 months incarceration on a count of criminal use of a communications facility along with $2,025 in fines and fees, submission of a DNA sample, priority for drug and alcohol treatment and credit for 183 days time served.

On the possession with intent to deliver charge he was sentenced to 72-144 months in prison, bringing the total sentence to 86 months – over seven years – to a maximum of 172 months, or over 14 years.


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