Second man gets prison time in woman’s heroin death

BALTIMORE — A day after a co-defendant received eight years for his role in the heroin overdose death of a Clear Spring woman, a Hagerstown man was sentenced Tuesday to one year and one day in federal prison on charges of criminal conspiracy and distribution of heroin, according to U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein.

Michael Andrew Romito, 39, pleaded guilty in January to the distribution and conspiracy charges. His sentence in U.S. District Court includes three years of supervised probation following his release.

The indictment against Romito alleged that he engaged in a conspiracy with Cory Allen Kline and others to distribute heroin between April and July 2015.

Kline, 32, was sentenced Monday in federal court to eight years in prison. He had pleaded guilty in January to charges that he and another co-defendant, Erica Buffolino, supplied the heroin that resulted in the death of 19-year-old Brooke Simmers last year.

Buffolino, 25, who also entered a plea agreement in January, is awaiting sentencing.

Although he said Romito was not directly responsible for his daughter’s death, Brooke Simmers’ father, Kevin Simmers, said Tuesday that he was present at the sentencing.

“Maybe my daughter’s death saved his life because he was strung out on heroin pretty bad,” Simmers said.

But ending the nation’s opiate addiction epidemic will require more than the criminal prosecution of drug dealers, he said.

“Until treatment is as accessible as the drug is, we’re never going to win,” Simmers said.

The charges to which Romito pleaded guilty to in January were selling a gram of heroin for $100 to an informant on Loose Lane on May 5; selling a gram for $150 to an informant on Dual Highway on May 14; selling half a gram to an informant for $150 on East Baltimore Street on May 20; and another half gram for $150 to an informant on Massey Boulevard on June 3, according to court documents.

Kline, Buffolino and Simmers, a recovering addict who had recently been released from jail, went to a Hagerstown residence on April 13, 2015, where Buffolino and Kline supplied her with heroin, the court documents said.

Simmers left the residence in her vehicle at 6:15 a.m. and made a telephone call to another person, saying that she was very high and did not feel right, the documents said.

Near the end of the call, Simmers began falling asleep and stopped speaking. The telephone call lasted until 7:06 a.m. on April 13, the documents said.

Simmers’ body was discovered in her car in a Hagerstown church parking lot on April 14, with a medical examiner’s report attributing her death to heroin intoxication.

After Kline’s sentencing on Monday, Kevin Simmers said his family prays that he will conquer his addiction while in prison and lead a productive life once he is released.

“Cory was grateful for the opportunity to publicly express his remorse to Brooke Simmers’ parents,” Assistant Federal Public Defender Douglas R. Miller said in a statement after Kline’s sentencing. “He would gladly trade places with their daughter if he could, and he told them so today.”

Reported on April 19 by reporter Don Aines – Herald Mail Media.

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