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    Wednesday, May 22, 2024

    Man gets 17 months in prison for supplying drugs in Stonington Institute OD death

    As a Christian, Leslie Williams said she can forgive Edward Broyles for providing the fentanyl that caused her only son’s overdose death.

    But she says the 17 months in prison and three years probation he will receive as punishment “hurts the heart and soul of everyone who loved Ty.”

    “It’s as if my son’s life did not deserve more,” Williams said during Broyles’ sentencing Wednesday in New London Superior Court.

    Williams’ son, 29-year-old Tyrell Hightower, died Feb. 22, 2020 of an overdose death while in detox at Stonington Institute in North Stonington. He was living in Putnam at the time of his death.

    Police determined that Broyles, formerly of New Bedford, Mass., supplied the drugs that caused Hightower’s death. Broyles, 33, had pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter and sale of narcotics as part of a plea agreement that Williams said seems lenient.

    “In spite of forgiving you, I am angered and saddened by the plea deal you were given, the accommodation that you were allowed because of the relationship and children you have in Florida, a place you ran to when you knew investigators were looking for you,” Williams said.

    Broyles was taken into custody in Florida after police obtained a warrant for his arrest. Assistant State’s Attorney Christa Baker said evidence shows Broyles had provided the drugs to Hightower, a father of two who had checked himself into the North Stonington rehabilitation facility and was staying in the detox wing.

    Hightower died of acute intoxication due to the effects of fentanyl, combined with lorazepam, gabapentin and hydroxyzine, the later three provided by Stonington Institute for new patients to ease their anxiety and withdrawal symptoms, police said.

    State police detectives investigating Hightower’s death spoke to witnesses who said Broyles admitted giving Hightower fentanyl and “just kept laughing, and joking about it,” because of how intoxicated Hightower became, the warrant states.

    When questioned by police, Broyles offered a hypothetical statement, “Let’s say per se right, I did right, give something to (Hightower). Now in your right mind right do you think I would be like, ‘hey, I gave this kid something? He died right?’ Or, or would you cover your ass right,” the warrant states.

    Broyles’ attorney, Aimee Starita, said Broyles is a new father to twin girls. Broyles’ plea agreement was for 18 months in prison, Starita said, but he received credit for the month he spent in prison in Florida.

    Williams said Hightower is her first born and only son who was not perfect but “loved, valued and needed.”

    “As a mom, I need him, my life and the lives of our whole family have changed forever. We are broken,” Williams said.

    She said Hightower was loving, sensitive, funny, charismatic and “left his mark for the better in people’s lives as I was reminded the day of his funeral” when more than 200 people showed up to pay respects.

    Williams said she spoke to her son on the day before his death, a positive conversation about what was next for him and his plans for the future.

    “Had I known that would be my last call, the last time I would hear him say ‘I love you mom,’ I would have never hung up,” Williams said.

    g.smith@theday.com

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