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Oct 28, 2016 5:14 PM

UPDATE: Eve Tarmey's family addresses court as man is sentenced to 20 years in prison

NH1.com

CONCORD - One of the three adults held responsible for 17-year-old Eve Tarmey's overdose death last year was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison on Friday.

Mark Ross, 42, plead guilty to distributing a controlled substance to a person under the age of 21, resulting in death in July. Ross was arrested in November 2015, about a month after Tarmey's death.

"This is a very sad and unfortunate case," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Don Feith after the sentencing. "Mr. Ross was given a significant, severe, but fair sentence, and that's why we agreed to the 20 years. We're satisfied with the sentence."

By statute, 20 years was the minimum sentence the court could've imposed, but was what attorneys agreed to as part of his plea deal.

The sentencing was an emotional one, as members of Tarmey's family stood up and addressed the court.

Her grandmother brought framed pictures to show the court. She addressed Ross directly as she presented the pictures and said, "You took that away from us." She also said even a lifetime sentence wouldn't be enough.

Tarmey's father was visibly upset during the hearing. He also spoke, saying he was struggling with the fact that Ross was still alive and his daughter wasn't. He called Ross "a tumor, a parasite on society," saying, "People like you should be euthanized."

The judge agreed, calling Ross' actions "despicable, depraved, and sickening." She also described how she thought no punishment could do justice in the case, describing Ross' actions after he provided heroin and fentanyl to Tarmey.

A police investigation concluded Ross removed evidence of drug use from the Riviera Motel room they were in, called his drug dealer, deleted incriminating material from his cell phone, and put Tarmey in the shower in an attempt to revive her. He also waited for Tarmey's mother, Jazzmyn Rood, to wake up from her drug-induced state before calling 9-1-1.

The judge added the last fact in the case was quite aggravating, as Ross suffered an overdose in 2012 and had to be revived with Narcan. The judge said she was troubled that Ross didn't give Tarmey the chance to be revived like he was.

However, she ruled the 20 year sentence was "sufficient but not excessive" for the severity of the crime. There's also a six month supervised release period on the end of his sentence.

Prosecutors hoped the sentencing could be an opportunity to send a warning to drug users and dealers in New Hampshire.

"Fentanyl is a particularly potent drug," Feith said. "It only takes a few grains to kill someone, so if you have an addiction problem and you're struggling with it, try and get treatment. Don't distribute it to others, because you could face the same result."

Feith added the state has a lot of work to do to combat the opioid crisis.

"We have to provide treatment, we have to provide counseling," he added. "We also have to provide certain punishment for those people who are going to distribute this, and this case is an example of that."

Two other women have also plead guilty to their roles in Tarmey's death.

Her mother, Jazzmyn Rood, plead guilty to misprision of a felony, meaning she was aware of the drug distribution, didn't contact police, and took steps to cover it up. She faces a maximum of three years in prison, but attorneys have agreed to ask the judge for 32 months. She is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 2.

Leslie Aberle, an acquaintance of Ross and Rood, also plead guilty to the same charge as Ross. She is facing 20 years in prison as well and will be sentenced on Jan. 3.

All of the sentencing hearings will take place at the U.S. District Court of New Hampshire in Concord.

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