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Published: Tuesday, 4/10/2007

East Toledo woman guilty in drug death


Nora Eckenrode was unaware of all the drugs Frank Bires had consumed before injecting him with what became a fatal dose of heroin, her attorney said yesterday.

Eckenrode, 43, of 630 Platt St., pleaded no contest yesterday in Lucas County Common Pleas Court to involuntary manslaughter and possession of heroin. She was found guilty by Judge Linda Jennings and will be sentenced May 16.

Originally charged with a first-degree involuntary manslaughter felony punishable by up to 10 years, Eckenrode pleaded to a third-degree charge and faces up to five years in prison. She also faces up to 18 months in prison for the heroin conviction.

Attorney Jane Roman said she would reserve comment on the case until her client is sentenced. She pointed out that Mr. Bires death was ruled to be caused by a combined drug overdose.

He had quite a bit of drugs in his system, she said.

Mr. Bires, 52, of Oregon, whose death was ruled a homicide, was found Jan. 9 in the basement of a house on Platt.

He was found two weeks after he died and his body was pushed through a trap door leading to the basement, authorities said.

Eckenrode was accused of preparing the drugs and injecting Mr. Bires with heroin. After the injection, Mr. Bires convulsed and stopped breathing, said Louis Kountouris, an assistant county prosecutor.

A report from the Lucas County Coroner s Office said Mr. Bires had several drugs in his system at the time of his death, including cocaine, morphine, codeine, and nordiazepam, a central nervous system depressant. Mr. Kountouris said Eckenrode had said she wanted to call for help when she saw Mr. Bires condition, but was stopped by other men who were there. She then left the room. Eckenrode said when she returned, Mr. Bires was gone, he added.

James Marciniak, 46, of 5936 Villamar Rd., and Jeffrey Kittle, 47, of 334 Van Buren Ave., are accused of dropping Mr. Bires body through a hole in the first floor. They are charged with abuse of a corpse and face up to a year in jail, if convicted. They are to go on trial April 16 before Judge Stacy Cook.

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