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Man pleads guilty in death of son

Gerald Deer will spend eight years in prison for the death of his son.

On Thursday, Deer, 48, of Ironton, pleaded guilty to

corrupting another with drugs and involuntary manslaughter, both second-degree felonies. Deere was

sentenced to four years on each count, which will be served consecutively, Prosecutor J.B. Collier Jr. said. Additionally, he was fined $7,500.

The maximum jail time Deer could have been

sentenced to was 18 years -- 10 for the involuntary manslaughter charge and eight for the drug charge.

On March 23 of this year, Eric Deer, 24, died after receiving a fatal dose of Fentanyl, a synthetic morphine patch. Deer, along with Ironton attorney Richard Wolfson, 42, and his wife, Mary Wolfson, 24, were indicted on April 12. The younger Deer died in the Park Avenue law office/home of the Wolfsons.

The Wolfsons were charged with obstruction of justice and tampering with evidence, both third-degree felonies. They are scheduled to appear in court on the charges Aug. 5. In the meantime, Richard Wolfson has been banned from handling criminal cases in the county.

Eric Deer, Collier said, overdosed on a combination of drugs, including fentanyl, which came from a duragesic patch. These patches, Collier explained, are designed for people with chronic pain and are manufactured to release the powerful medication over a 72-hour time period. The patches, however, can be altered and the medication can be removed, allowing the drug-abuser to inject or eat the medication.

This massive overload of the drug proves too powerful, leading to an overdose. Collier said there have been five overdoses this year

stemming from this type of drug abuse.

According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, the first case of illegal use of fentanyl appeared in the mid 1970s and continues to be a problem in the United States. Jeremy Schneider/The Ironton Tribune