65-year-old Stamford man sentenced for selling poison heroin
Updated 7:20 pm, Wednesday, May 16, 2018
STAMFORD — As the mother of a man killed by fentanyl-laced heroin stood by, the 65-year-old man who supplied the deadly drugs to the woman’s son last summer was sentenced to 28 months in prison at the Stamford courthouse Wednesday.
But before James Pipicelli was led out of the courtroom in leg shackles and handcuffs, he apologized.
“I’m sorry for what happened, judge. It wasn’t intentional. I’m sorry for your loss,” Pipicelli said to Linda Peretz, the mother of Daniel Peretz, 28, who died of an overdose last July.“I really don’t know what to say. It’s sad.”
“He was always a good kid, an Eagle Scout and the captain of his football team in college,” she said. But Peretz said doctors kept giving his son pain killers so he could continue playing football and he got hooked. “It’s the same story we hear all the time,” she said.
Judge Blawie told Pipicelli that heroin users are at a much greater risk of being killed with the new and more powerful synthetic opiates being sold on the streets now.
“It is a loss all the more tragic in this case given the tremendous lost potential of your son,” he told Peretz.
But Blawie had little sympathy for Pipicelli.
“And those who participate in this deadly stream of commerce like yourself, sir, must pay the price. Intent to kill is not an element of the crime you are convicted of. Given the deadly mix of heroin and fentanyl, anyone who injects unknown substances into their body runs a real risk of what occurred here. And because you played a part in putting that substance into that person you have to pay the price for it,” Blawie said.
Pippicelli, of West Main Street, pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter for causing Peretz’s death on July 14, 2017.
When Peretz missed meeting up with his ex-girlfriend last July, the woman went to his apartment and found another woman there doing her laundry. Peretz was there too, but lying facedown on the couch with a glassine envelope of heroin stamped “Takeover” lying next to him. When she went to wake him, he was unresponsive and was declared dead by medics called to the scene. In Pipicelli’s five-page arrest warrant, police say Peretz’ body was stiff and cold to the touch, indicating he had been dead for some time.
The woman found inside the apartment admitted to doing drugs with Peretz that day, but told police she thought he was just sleeping.
Three days later, Pipicelli was arrested by officers in the Narcotics and Organized Crime squad while in possession of 10 envelopes of “Takeover” heroin, his arrest warrant says.
When police had the heroin examined scientifically, they discovered that, along with the heroin, the glassine envelope also contained two fentanyl compounds, which is known to be added to heroin and can be many times stronger than the drug itself.
Linda Peretz seemed resigned to the sentence handed down by Blawie on Wendesday.
“It is what it is,” she said before leaving the courthouse.