2 adults arraigned in teen’s heroin overdose death

James David Dickson
The Detroit News

A man and a woman accused of providing a fatal dose of heroin to a 16-year-old Warren girl are facing the possibility of life in prison, the Macomb County Prosecutor’s Office announced Thursday.

Prosecutor Eric Smith has charged Warren residents Leslie Metcalfe, 40, and Donald McCoy, 55, with identical counts of delivery of a controlled substance, causing death.

Leslie Metcalfe

They were arraigned Friday in Warren's 37th District Court, where they each received $1 million cash or surety bonds. The two are due back in court for hearings on Feb. 7 and Feb. 14.

Authorities allege that on Jan. 6, Sierra Lawson, 16, asked neighbors Metcalfe and McCoy to buy heroin on her behalf, then overdosed and died after using the drug.

Lawson and her boyfriend were at Lawson’s house when the two got into an argument with Lawson’s mother, who suspected the pair were on drugs, officials said. They had ingested five Xanax pills each.

Donald McCoy

Prosecutors argue that Lawson then texted Metcalfe, asking for help obtaining the heroin. Metcalfe allegedly called McCoy, who headed to the east side of Detroit — Eight Mile and Van Dyke — with $50 of Lawson’s money. He returned later with packets of heroin. The group, minus McCoy, then allegedly “crushed and snorted a packet each and passed out in (Metcalfe's) trailer," officials said.

Hours later, Metcalfe “turned from watching television to find Lawson not breathing and cold to the touch,” authorities said. Metcalfe is accused of not calling 911 for fear of arrest, and instead finding a neighbor to try CPR, which was unsuccessful. The neighbor called 911. First responders in Michigan are required to carry opioid antidote naloxone, which draws overdoses to a halt by ejecting opioids from brain receptors, allowing the person overdosing to remember to breathe.

Authorities said Metcalfe “left the trailer before police could arrive.”

Lawson was dead on arrival at St. John Oakland hospital.

Smith’s statement indicated that “age differences” were a factor in the charges. He added: “I will relentlessly prosecute those who put drugs into the hands of our children.”

In 2014, the last year for which numbers were available, some 1,001 people in Michigan died after overdosing on heroin or other opioids, according to the Michigan Department of Community Health.