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Roane Man Pleads Guilty To Involuntary Manslaughter

Reported by: Send eMail Dan Matics
Web Producer: Jeff Morris
Also Contributing: Bob Aaron
Reported: Dec. 18, 2013 10:59 AM EST
Updated: Dec. 18, 2013 9:52 PM EST

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Roane Manslaughter Plea
Eyewitness News Photo

Spencer, Roane County , West Virginia

A guilty plea in a synthetic drug death has a community talking.

Roane County sheriff’s deputies initially thought that Renee Honaker died from an LSD overdose back in March.

They later found that it was a form of a synthetic drug.

Her husband, Todd Honaker, was charged with murder, because drugs were mailed to him in an anniversary card from Washington by Chad Renzleman, who they said made the drugs.

But in a plea deal earlier this week, Honaker pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter. Because under state law, this particular substance is not considered a controlled substance, so the murder charges had to be dropped.

Roane County Prosecutor Josh Downey said Renzleman will likely get a stricter sentence because his is a federal case and it is considered a controlled substance.

However with Honaker, it is only a state level case, and, since he gets credit for time served, he will be out in a few months.

The news was frustrating for some living in the area.

"Our job is to enforce the law, what's on the books,” Downey said. “This is the charge that we had available to us, the involuntary manslaughter."

Obviously, some people in Roane are wanting to see a stricter punishment than the guilty plea for involuntary manslaughter.

Honaker was sentenced up to a year. He was jailed in March, and, with credit for time served, will be released in March 2014.

He'll also have to pay a $1,000 fine.




A Roane County man pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the drug overdose death of his wife.

In exchange for Todd Honaker's plea, a murder charge was dropped. He was immediately sentenced to a year in jail and had already served most of that sentence while waiting for his trial to start.

Deputies first thought his wife, Renee Honaker, died from an LSD overdose but later learned it was a synthetic hallucinogen.

Meanwhile, murder charges also are expected to be dropped against Chad Renzleman, the Washington state man who allegedly made the drug. Roane County Prosecutor Joshua Downey said he expects Renzleman will be prosecuted on federal drug charges.



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