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Conviction and life sentence upheld for Dubuque man who distributed heroin that caused overdose death


DUBUQUE, Iowa (KWWL) -- A Dubuque man serving a life sentence for distributing heroin that resulted in a woman's death has had his conviction and sentence upheld.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit upheld the rulings on Wednesday.

Richard Parker, 49, of Dubuque was sentenced to concurrent life sentences in October 2018 following his conviction on two counts of distributing heroin, one of which resulted in an overdose death. Evidence showed Parker obtained several grams of heroin in Chicago in April 2017. On Easter Sunday, Parker brought the heroin to a home on Rhomberg Avenue in Dubuque.

Parker and several others at the home drank alcohol and smoked crack cocaine throughout the day. Parker and a woman identified as E.M. went into a back bedroom. The woman used heroin that Parker gave her and she stopped breathing.

Parker called 911 around 12:20 a.m. As first responders were attempting to save the woman's life, Parker went into another room and hid the remaining heroin in a chair, which was later found by investigators. Life-saving attempts were unsuccessful and the woman died shortly after 1:15 a.m.

Parker had numerous prior felony convictions. Amongst his prior convictions were four drug-related convictions, including three for drug distribution. Parker had been released after nearly a decade in prison just days before the incident.

"Richard Parker committed a deadly crime. The sentence affirmed by the Court of Appeals ensures he will no longer sell lethal narcotics in our community," Acting U.S. Attorney Sean Berry said.

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