Heroin Overdose Leads to Death, SK Arrest
Stephanie Dawn Sousa, 21, is arrested for felony drug possession after a friend – Seth E. Johnson, 23 – overdoses on heroin.
Unless otherwise noted, information about the following incidents was supplied by the South Kingstown Police Department. An arrest does not indicate a conviction.
Stephanie Dawn Sousa, 21, of 49 Orchard Ave., Apt. #3, South Kingstown, was arrested at about 1:30 p.m. on Aug. 16 and charged with three felony counts of possession, and also possession of marijuana, a misdemeanor.
According to police, at noon they received a report of a man – identified as Seth E. Johnson, 23, of 1213 Kingstown Road, Wakefield – overdosing on heroin at Sousa’s apartment.
Police said when they arrived on scene, Sousa appeared to be under the influence of a narcotic, and had trouble answering any questions. Police noted several syringe caps on the floor of many of the rooms, and a marijuana roach on the floor of the kitchen.
According to police, Sousa kept requesting to smoke a cigarette, which they would not allow her to do inside the apartment because of the lifesaving efforts going on with Johnson. Paramedics found a syringe under Johnson, and police saw a digital scale in a handbag of Sousa while she was moving on a couch.
Johnson was transported from the apartment to South County Hospital for treatment. However, police said he then refused treatment and checked himself out of the hospital at 12:45 p.m. on Aug. 16.
According to police, they searched Sousa’s apartment and uncovered drug paraphernalia. The exact items seized were not listed in police reports, but Sousa was arrested and charged with three counts of felony drug possession.
However, rescue personnel noted that Sousa’s health appeared to be at risk, most likely due to the effects of a narcotic. She was also transported to South County Hospital for treatment as a result.
Sousa was scheduled for arraignment at Fourth Division District Court at 9 a.m. Friday.
According to online records, charges against Sousa have yet to be entered. She has five prior entries, along with an alias of Jenna Deibler:
- In June 2011, Sousa pleaded no contest to a Providence police charge of misdemeanor shoplifting. She was ordered to serve a year of probation and a year-long suspended sentence.
- In January 2011, Sousa pladed no contest to a Warwick police charge of receiving stolen goods valued at less than $1,500. She was ordered to serve a year-long suspended sentence and a year of probation, to pay restitution, and to complete 10 hours of community service and a mental health program. After violating probation, she was ordered to serve 60 days home confinement.
- In December 2010, Sousa pleaded no contest to a South Kingstown police charge of receiving stolen goods valued at less than $1,500. She was ordered to serve a year-long suspended sentence and a year of probation. She later served 60 days home confinement for probation violations.
- In August 2010, Sousa pleaded no contest to a South Kingstown police charge of simple assault. In return for her plea, a charge of disorderly conduct was dismissed. She was initially ordered to serve a year of probation, but after two probation violations, she was ordered to serve 60 days home confinement.
- In August 2010, a South Kingstown police charge of domestic trespassing against Sousa was dismissed.
Johnson also had several past contacts with area departments. On Aug. 10, Johnson was arrested by Narragansett police for an assault that allegedly occurred at the Lighthouse Inn on July 18.
In August 2011, Johnson allegedly confessed to several open breaking and entering cases in South Kingstown, and was arrested. He allegedly committed these crimes with a juvenile accomplice.
He pleaded to a charge of felony breaking and entering in April, and he was ordered to serve five years probation, to complete substance abuse and mental health counseling, and to pay restitution.
Johnson also has several other arrests, according to online court records:
- In November 2011, he pleaded no contest to a University of Rhode Island police charge of trespassing. He was ordered to serve a year of probation and a year-long suspended sentence.
- In December 2010, he pleaded no contest to a Warwick police charge of receiving stolen goods valued at less than $1,500. He was ordered to serve a year of probation and a year-long suspended sentence, and to pay restitution. In return for his plea, a charge of conspiracy was dismissed.
According to police, at about 5:50 a.m. on Aug. 17 they received a call of an unresponsive male at a home on Dobson Road. The caller, a family member of Johnson, told the dispatcher than Johnson was foaming at the mouth and unresponsive.
Police said that when they arrived, Johnson showed no signs of breathing and was cold to the touch. CPR was attempted, but Johnson was unable to be resuscitated, and police said it appeared that he died several hours before their arrival.
According to police, a search of the room revealed a plastic baggie with a powdery substance, believed to be heroin. An empty bottle of painkillers was also found.
Police said that after checking himself out of the hospital, Johnson’s whereabouts from 12:45 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. were unknown. At about 4:30 p.m., he was at the home on Dobson Road, where he remained until his death sometime between 10 p.m. Aug. 16 and 5:50 a.m. Aug. 17.
EDITOR’S NOTE, 4:15 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 22: We received confirmation from South Kingstown police that Johnson passed away as a result of a drug overdose. As a result, the story has been modified. Typically, we do not report the names of people dying from drug overdoses. However, because police investigated and criminal charges were filed against Sousa as a result, we have in this instance, and included Johnson’s past arrest history.
EDITOR’S NOTE, 4:30 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 27: After receiving a supplemental report from South Kingstown police records, we have clarified the timeline of Aug. 16 and Aug. 17.
Unless otherwise noted, the information for this article was compiled from South Kingstown police reports, which are available for review by any member of the public at their headquarters. If we’re missing a call or report you’re interested in knowing about, feel free to leave a comment or to send Local Editor Stephen Greenwell a message at Stephen.email@example.com.
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