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Toledo man gets 3 years for selling fatal drug dose

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A Toledo man who was convicted of selling a fatal dose of fentanyl to an East Toledo man last year was sentenced Wednesday to three years in prison.

Christopher C. Winter, 39, of the 300 block of Junction Avenue, entered an Alford plea — not admitting guilt -— in July and was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter. He had faced up to 11 years in prison, although prosecutors said in July they would recommend a sentence of no more than three years.

Prosecutors said Winter sold the drugs to Christopher Zam, 37, who was found unresponsive in his bed at his mother's home May 3, 2017. He was pronounced dead by emergency responders.

Winter told Lucas County Common Pleas Judge Linda Jennings that he made a mistake, and his attorney, John McMahon said, “This is certainly a tragedy.”

“I hope [the victim’s family] can find forgiveness in their hearts,” Winter said.

The two men had known each other for years and went to Waite High School together.

But Judge Jennings said Winter has been involved in the drug trade since 1999, noting a string of charges including a felony drug arrest just days after Mr. Zam died.

Winter was arrested less than a block away from Mr. Zam’s East Toledo home. Police said at the time he had a large amount of money, a scale, what is believed to have been heroin and fentanyl, and other drug paraphernalia. 

“You were selling poison in this community,” she said.

Judge Jennings said Winter had sold Mr. Zam marijuana laced with fentanyl, and that his repeated arrests showed he had no intention to change.

“People like you are a danger to the community,” she said.

Along with the prison term, the judge also sentenced Winter to five years of post-release control and ordered him to pay $6,424 in restitution.

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