Brewster Man Indicted for Providing Heroin for Fatal Overdose at Jail

GavelBARNSTABLE – A Barnstable grand jury has indicted a Brewster man on charges of involuntary manslaughter for allegedly providing the heroin that led to the fatal overdose of another man.

Both were inmates at the Barnstable County Correctional Facility at the time.

Timothy R. Evans, 25, faces five charges in all.

John P. Shannon, 31, of Hyannis was found dead in his jail cell in May 2014.

In addition to the charge of involuntary manslaughter, Evans faces charges of distribution and possession with the intent to distribute heroin, delivering drugs to a prisoner and conspiracy to violate the Controlled Substances Act.

According to a release from Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O’Keefe, the indictments resulted from a grand jury investigation over a period of months in which the grand jury heard from several witnesses, correctional officers and inmates about Evans’ alleged possession of drugs in the jail, his providing illegal drugs to other inmates and Shannon’s heroin overdose death.

Sheriff James Cummings said the death led to changes at the jail in the form of a $200,000 body scanner that is used for the intake of all prisoners.

“Over the last couple of years, it’s really grown in depth, inmates taking whatever means they can to smuggle opiates, for the most part, into the correctional facility. As a result of the young Shanahan boy’s death, we bought a full body scanner, so now every inmate that comes into the facility goes through the body scanner and it’s able to tell us if they swallowed anything. So far so good. It’s been very effective,” Cummings said.

Cummings has also put in place a Residential Substance Abuse Treatment Program at the jail, which uses Vivitrol in some cases, to help people who arrive at the facility as opiate addicts.

Cummings said, according to a survey at the jail, 43 percent of people coming into the facility have said they are addicted to opiates. About 80 percent have some issue with drugs or alcohol, the sheriff said.

He said there is still an issue of people sending in drugs through the mail, but jail officials are working on eliminating that source as well.

Cummings said that to the best of his knowledge this was the first fatal overdose at the jail.

Before the body scanner was purchased, Cummings said, overdoses were very rare, perhaps one or two over several years. But there were more and more frequent instances of inmates found in possession of drugs or found to have taken drugs.

The matter remains under investigation by the State Police Detective Unit assigned to the office of the Cape and Islands District Attorney, the Barnstable County Sheriff’s Office, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner and the Crime Scene Services Unit of the State Police.

Evans will be arraigned on the charges in Barnstable Superior Court.
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