Two sentenced in fentanyl death of Santa Rosa man, baby
As she faced two people who provided the fentanyl that killed her 13-month-old son and his father, Emily Guillory thought of her own efforts to recover from a drug addiction. And she forgave them.
Guillory came face-to-face with Shane Cratty and Lindsay Williams last week in a federal courtroom in San Francisco, knowing the pair had pleaded guilty to providing Patrick O’Neill, 29, with the drugs that ultimately killed both him and Liam, his son with Guillory, in September 2019.
She said that Cratty was silent as she spoke to him Nov. 10 but that Williams had expressed remorse and a desire to recover from her own drug addiction.
“I don’t think holding a grudge and holding on to this hate and anger toward them and the world is going to do anything for my recovery,“ Guillory, a 26-year-old Petaluma resident, told The Press Democrat Wednesday.
Cratty, 28, and Williams, 34, pleaded guilty to charges of fentanyl sales earlier this year and were sentenced to eight years and 7½ years in prison, respectively.
The status of a third defendant, Leanna Zamora, wasn’t immediately available.
The deaths were not intentional, prosecutors said, but the defendants were held liable given there was enough opportunity to prevent the transaction that led to the deaths.
“The planning and execution took over four hours,” prosecutors said in sentencing memorandum filed in U.S. District Court. “All for a gram of fentanyl and the negligible profits each expected to make off of it.”
According to the memorandum, Williams paid Zamora $125 for a gram of fentanyl on Sept. 13, 2019. The synthetic opioid 100 times more potent than morphine has been linked to an increase in overdose deaths both locally and nationally.
Williams gave the drugs to Cratty, who passed them to O’Neill.
Up until that point, Guillory said O’Neill had been trying to clean up and stay sober in large part for their son.
The two had dated on and off but remained on good terms and O’Neill was taking care of Liam the day of the transaction.
Investigators say O’Neill used fentanyl with friends before heading home with his son. Guillory added she believes her son crawled out of bed that night and ingested fentanyl he found on the floor.
O’Neill was supposed to leave Liam with a relative the next morning before going to work, but that never happened and a concerned Guillory went to O’Neill’s home on Darek Drive in Santa Rosa.
Inside a bedroom, she found her son’s body while O’Neill was nearby clinging to life.
“He muttered something like, ‘Help me,’ so she knew he was alive. But (Liam) was not,” according to the memorandum.
Paramedics rushed O’Neill to a hospital, where he he fell unconscious and his body began to deteriorate. His family withdrew him from life support on Sept. 16, 2019.
Autopsies showed Liam died from acute fentanyl intoxication and O’Neill died from complications related to fentanyl intoxication.
Prosecutors say a small amount of fentanyl similar to just a few grains of salt can be lethal and a gram “represented about 500 lethal doses for naive users.”
“There are no words to describe the heartbreak and tragedy that flowed from this simple transaction. A wonderful, happy, healthy boy had his future stolen from him. His father died,” prosecutors wrote in the memorandum.
After Liam’s death and while O’Neill was in a hospital, Cratty gave an on-camera interview with KRON 4 TV in San Francisco and expressed sadness about his friend using drugs again.
In the Sept. 16, 2019, interview, Cratty warned of fentanyl’s dangers and said he personally had saved dozens of people from overdosing.
Guillory said she criticized Cratty in court for making those comments but credited Williams for facing her and issuing an apology. She encouraged Williams to stay sober so that she could some day see her daughter.
“I told her I truly hope that she is able to get clean and stay clean and that I find the number one thing in recovery is honesty,” Guillory said. “She made it very clear she does want to do that and I hope she does do that.”
For more than a year, Guillory has been building a nonprofit that’s dedicated to raise funds for indigent or uninsured individuals who need assistance with mental illness, drug addiction and housing.
It’s called Paddy & Liam’s Organization.
“It gives me hope that helping other people, it helps me in my recovery. It helps me grow,“ Guillory said.
You can reach Staff Writer Colin Atagi at email@example.com. On Twitter @colin_atagi