RALEIGH — A Fuquay-Varina woman was sent to prison today for at least 10 years after she admitted supplying methadone and crack cocaine to an area teen who was later found dead on a roadside.
Tamitha Gilchrist Hicks, 42, pleaded guilty this morning in a Wake County Superior courtroom to second-degree murder in connection with the April 2006 death of Taylor Jacob Klein, 18.
Klein's body was found in a ditch on the side of a rural road outside Fuquay-Varina on April 7, 2006. Klein, who had told his family that he wanted to try to stop using drugs, had gone to Hicks house and gotten drugs from her, including methadone and crack cocaine, said Howard Cummings, the Wake assistant district attorney who prosecuted the case.
Hicks ran a rooming house where she would give tenants money to get false prescriptions from doctors for various prescription drugs and then she would sell them, Cummings said in court.
Klein took the drugs on April 6, 2006, and stayed at the house.
When several other people staying in the house awoke the next morning, they saw Klein was unconscious and starting to turn purple, Cummings said.
Instead of calling emergency responders for help, Hicks told the group to take Klein out of the house. His body was then dumped on the side of a rural road.
In addition to her murder conviction, Hicks also plead guilty to multiple counts of trafficking and possessing methadone and several narcotic pills. She did not make any statements at the hearing, nor did her lawyer Evonne Hopkins offer any evidence about Hicks.
Hicks' sentences were consolidated as part of a plea bargain, and she was sentenced to at least 10 years in prison by Durham Superior Court Judge Leon Stanback Jr., who is holding court in Wake County as part of a regular rotation.
Members of Klein's family who were at today's sentencing said it had been a long battle to see Hicks charged with Taylor Klein's death.
Investigators from the Wake sheriff's office did not pursue criminal charges until after Taylor's father, David Klein, hired a private investigator. As a result of the investigator's work with the Wake District Attorney's Office, Hicks was arrested and charged, David Klein said.
"It's been a long three years," David Klein said. "His death could have been prevented; they let him die."
To read more about David Klein's fight to have his son's death investigated, please check in tomorrow's print edition of the News & Observer or online at www.newsobserver.com.
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