YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: Lawyers for two Paterson men charged in the heroin overdose death of an Allendale man asked a judge in Hackensack today to order a conference at which they could counter what they called an “inadequate” plea offer from prosecutors.
Timothy Volpe, 21 ( above, left ), and Kaleik Easton, 20 ( right ), are charged with strict liability for a drug-induced death — along with manslaughter and conspiracy to distribute heroin — for selling 22-year old Brendan Cole the drugs that killed him on Jan. 4, 2014.
Assistant Bergen County Prosecutor Danielle Grootenboer told Presiding Superior Court Judge Susan J. Steele that she won’t consider a counter-proposal to her offer of seven years — of which both men would have to serve at least six.
She cited the support and cooperation she has received from Cole’s family, many of whom attended today’s court hearing, and said she wasn’t about to go back on her word to them.
Although neither defendant had a prior criminal record, Grootenboer noted that Easton has a gun possession charge pending in Passaic County.
Defense attorneys Dianne D’Alessandro ( above, left ) and Gayle Hargrave ( right ) want five-year terms — of which their clients would have to serve four years and three months — in exchange for guilty pleas.
Steele said she’d have to research the law before determining whether to compel Grootenboer to meet with the lawyers.
A third defendant in the case took a deal in March that allows him to walk away with probation for his testimony against Easton and Volpe.
Eric “Big D” Carter, 20 — whom authorities consider ‘peripheral” to the case — admitted driving both men to a meeting with Cole at the Garden State Plaza the night before he died. He said he didn’t know what was in the package they gave Cole.
Carter is tentatively scheduled for sentencing on Aug. 7, pending the outcome of the case against Easton and Volpe. Meanwhile, he remained free on $30,000 bail.
Volpe and Easton remained held on $575,000 bail each in the Bergen County Jail.
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