Overdose-murder case resolved with plea deal

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A death by overdose-murder case was resolved on Tuesday, July 30, in the Greenbrier County Circuit Court under Judge Robert Richardson.

David Canaday, Jr. was initially indicted for murder and delivery of a controlled substance, one count of methamphetamine and one count for fentanyl in 2018. In 2019, Canaday was again indicted on an additional count of delivery of a controlled substance for methamphetamine. According to Greenbrier County Prosecuting Attorney Patrick Via, both cases stem from June 6, 2017, in which Canaday delivered methamphetamine to the victim on the Greenbrier County side of Alderson on two separate occasions. The victim later died of an overdose.

A last minute plea deal delayed the trial to allow for an alternative resolution. A new law, passed in 2017, concerning the delivery of a controlled substance and failure to render aid, resulting in “significant adverse physical reaction to the controlled substance and the overdose or adverse physical reaction approximately causing the death of the other person.” Due to the timeline of the law’s passage, the crime, and the law’s effective date, potential constitutionality questions were created with the deal. Via and the defense entered new negotiations.

On Tuesday, Canaday later plead guilty to two counts of delivery of a controlled substance – methamphetamine, one in the 2018 case and one in the 2019 case, and the state agreed to drop the murder charge and the additional delivery of fentanyl charge.

Via noted the sentencing guidelines resemble the original deal, and he felt the victim’s family would approve of the new deal plan. “The plea was designed as a mathematical calculation to downsize [the case] as a result of the extraordinarily difficult trial for the state that the murder would have led us to,” he said. “We felt like this would satisfy the members of the family [and] law enforcement of the state of West Virginia.”

According to the West Virginia State Code, delivery of a methamphetamine, a Schedule II controlled substance, could carry a sentence of imprisonment in the state correctional facility for not less than one year nor more than five years, or fined not more than fifteen thousand dollars, or both. Richardson noted that because of previous convictions, Canaday could be subject to enhanced sentencing for repeat offenders. Canaday has gone through a drug rehabilitation service, and acknowledged that “…it’s the best thing to ever happen to me.” He was allowed to remain on bond until his sentencing hearing.