Port Angeles trial delayed on charge in fatal overdose
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Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
David Zavodny sits with attorney Karen Unger in Clallam County Superior Court in Port Angeles on Friday. His trial has been delayed to Aug. 2.

By Paul Gottlieb
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — An 18-year-old man's trial on a charge of controlled-substance homicide in connection with a heroin-related death has been postponed to Aug. 2.

David A. C. Zavodny of Port Angeles originally was charged with one count of maintaining premises for drug trafficking after the May 14 death of 17-year-old Maceo Niehaus.

On July 5, Clallam County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Ann Lundwall added the charge of controlled-substance homicide.

The trial originally was due to start Monday.

Clallam County Superior Court Judge George L. Wood changed the trial date during a Friday hearing to allow Port Angeles lawyer Karen Unger, representing Zavodny, more time to prepare his defense.

Lundwall said in past court hearings that she was awaiting toxicology results from Niehaus' autopsy before deciding whether to add the homicide charge.

The maintaining-premises charge carries a maximum two-year prison term, while the homicide charge carries a maximum 10-year sentence.

The original charge “is minuscule compared to what the charges are now,” Unger told Wood.

“This is a very triable case, but there are a lot of issues,” she said.

“There were a lot of witnesses involved in what was going on that night,” Unger said.

“There is no way we could go to trial Monday and provide any adequate defense.”

Niehaus, who had never taken drugs intravenously before, injected himself with heroin at Zavodny's residence on South Ennis Street in Port Angeles on May 14 and then had “a physical reaction to the heroin” before he stopped breathing, according to Port Angeles Police Sgt. Jesse Winfield's arrest report.

Zavodny tried applying ice and cold water to Niehaus to revive him, calling 9-1-1 about 40 to 45 minutes after Niehaus stopped breathing, Winfield said in the report.

Port Angeles fire and police personnel could not revive Niehaus.

More than 300 of Maceo's family and friends attended his funeral May 23.

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Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5060, or at paul.gottlieb@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: July 20. 2013 5:49PM
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