A $250,000 bond was set in Brown County for a Hillsboro man charged with involuntary manslaughter and three other charges in connection with the death of a Brown County man whose body was discovered in a ditch in October in Brown County.
Billy Ray Hackworth, 44, of Taylorsville Road near Hillsboro, was arrested Friday morning in connection with the death of Clint Doss, 38. Hackworth’s arrest was first reported by WKRC-TV in Cincinnati.
The TV station reported that according to court documents, Hackworth allegedly sold fentanyl, causing Doss’ death as a result of drugs, and then allegedly moved Doss’ body into a ditch on Oakland Road in October.
According to a press release in October, at approximately 9:12 a.m. on Oct. 13, the Brown County Sheriff’s Office “received a report of a male subject lying in the ditch on Oakland Rd. just off New Hope White Oak Station that appeared to be deceased.”
Doss’ body was located and confirmed to be deceased, according to the release. Members of the Brown County Sheriff’s Office, Mt. Orab Police Department, Ohio State Highway Patrol and Brown County Coroner’s Office responded and processed the scene, according to the press release, which added that “the Brown County Sheriff’s Office will continue to investigate this incident with assistance from the Mt. Orab Police Department.”
According to jail records, Hackworth is charged with involuntary manslaughter, a first-degree felony; corruption of another with drugs, a second-degree felony; aggravated trafficking in drugs, a fourth-degree felony; and tampering with evidence, a third-degree felony.
Court records show that Hackworth appeared for a hearing on Dec. 24, at which time he requested a continuance, which was granted. Hackworth’s bond was set at $250,000, and a new hearing has been set for 9 a.m. on Dec. 28.
Bringing involuntary manslaughter charges against those who allegedly supply drugs to people who later die of an overdose has been a growing trend, including in Highland County, where prosecutor Anneka Collins brought charges in similar cases this year.
“It’s not just a situation where people are using too much of something and dying,” Collins said earlier this year in an interview with The Times-Gazette. “Typically, overdoses happen because they’re buying what they think is one thing, but it turns out to be something else. When we see overdoses in Highland County, they’re often fentanyl-related overdoses. A person goes to buy heroin, and what they get is a heroin and fentanyl mixture.”
Collins said drug traffickers often mix heroin and fentanyl, known on the street as a “cut,” effectively increasing the amount of sellable product.
“You take 50 grams of heroin and 50 grams of cut, and now you have 100 grams,” she said. “It makes it a lot more valuable.”
The mix can be extremely dangerous, and in many cases lethal, Collins said, because not all drug users have a tolerance for Fentanyl.
“Suddenly, you’re using something that you don’t have the tolerance for,” she said. “That’s another thing in an overdose, you maybe do a cap of heroin, then work up to two caps, then three caps, then four caps. If it turns out to be half of that or three-fourths of that is fentanyl, your body isn’t prepared for it.”
The shift has sparked a new trend in local justice systems, Collins said. Instead of seeing overdoses as accidental deaths, some Ohio prosecutors have gone after the person who sold the drugs, holding them responsible for their customers’ overdoses.