Minimum 7½ Years in Prison for NH Man Who's Toddler Stepson Died After Eating Fentanyl
BRENTWOOD — The Hampton man who left fentanyl in reach of his 20-month-old stepson, who then ingested the drug and died will spend at least 7½ years in prison.
Leo Witham pleaded guilty to negligent homicide, fentanyl possession, falsifying physical evidence, endangering the welfare of a child and assault on a prisoner. He was sentenced 7½-15 years in state prison for the negligent homicide charge, followed by 6½-13 years suspended for 20 years on the remaining charges.
County Attorney Patricia Conway said Witham caused the death of the 20-month-old who was in his care back in October 2016. Witham left the potent drug fentanyl within reach of the toddler. According to the autopsy report, the child died of acute fentanyl poisioning by ingesting the drug.
On that day, Witham found the toddler unresponsive and took the child to the Hampton Fire Department. While firefighters were trying to revive the boy, Witham took off on foot, dropping a bag of fentanyl in the parking lot in order to discard the evidence. Police searched Witham's apartment and found drug related items like a belt, plastic baggies with white residue, orange caps and a plastic container with white residue, which later tested positive for fentanyl.
Conway said the public needs to understand these drugs are extremely deadly and it only takes a very small amount to cause serious bodily harm or death to adults or children who come in contact with fentanyl and heroin.
"Those who selfishly and negligently expose children or any persons to these drugs resulting in a death will be punished severely," Conway said. “The drug epidemic in this state and across the country has left a trail of devastating destruction. It is negatively affecting our businesses, or communities, children and our families."