Meriden man charged with manslaughter in 2016 fatal overdose

Meriden man charged with manslaughter in 2016 fatal overdose

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MERIDEN — A city man faces charges after police said he supplied a man with narcotics in a fatal 2016 overdose.

William Roberts, 28, of 247 New Hanover Ave., was arrested on Sunday and charged with second-degree manslaughter and three counts of sale of a controlled substance.

On Sept. 19, 2016, police responded to the New Hanover Avenue home for a report of a man who was found dead, according to an arrest warrant. Officers identified the man as Alex Comforte, 24, who was found in a detached garage that was being used as an apartment by Roberts.

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner determined Comforte died as a result of acute intoxication from combined effects of cocaine, cocaethylene, heroin and alprazolam. His death was ruled an accident.

Police spoke with Roberts, who said Comforte came over the previous day around 8 p.m. The medical examiner said Comforte’s time of death was around midnight, and police found drug paraphernalia at the scene.

Police investigating determined Roberts sold drugs to several people during that timeframe.  Police obtained a search warrant for Roberts’ cell phone and found deleted text messages between Roberts and his supplier. The deleted messages showed Roberts saying his friend was not breathing normally just before midnight, the warrant said. The supplier told Roberts he should have called an ambulance, but Roberts said he was going to watch the friend “sleep it off.”

Police noted due to Roberts’ personal history with illicit substances, he was aware of the dangers of overdosing and acknowledged that Comforte was in medical distress as early as 11:50 p.m. on Sept. 18, 2016. Roberts told his supplier that he wasn’t able to wake up Comforte, the warrant noted. 

Roberts was arraigned in Meriden Superior Court on Monday. Bond was set at $500,000 and he is due back in court on Sept. 25. 

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