By Derrick Pal
SACRAMENTO, CA — Deputy District Attorney Casey Newton argued in a settlement conference Monday here in Sacramento County Superior County that bail of up to $1 million should be set for 19-year-old defendant Adam Blackstone because he poses a “flight risk” and “danger” to the Sacramento community.
In February of 2020, defendant Blackstone called 911 to report the death of a 16-year-old female whom he visited at her home. The defendant and victim shared some pills, and ultimately the victim passed away from an overdose.
DDA Newton stated that “Mr. Blackstone admitted providing some pills to this young lady. [But] the pills he admitted to providing were not the substance that ultimately appears to have killed her. According to him [Blackstone], he provided alprazolam, and I believe promethazine, both of which are scheduled substances…”
This case that DDA Newton described was only one of the two open felony cases for defendant Blackstone. In February this year, a warrant was issued for police to arrest Blackstone, which led to a felony charge of possession for sale of a controlled substance.
“He was in personal possession of some pills, but his residence was searched and an enormous amount of pills were located, upwards of about 10,000 pills in total were recovered,” said DDA Newton.
Judge Raoul Thorbourne’s attention was drawn to these details and he commented that defendant Blackstone “is a real business-man.”
Private defense counsel Linda Parisi argued, however, that “Mr. Blackstone is a 19-year-old young man. He has no prior record at all, he is supported strongly by both of his parents who live in the Sacramento area.
“His mother is a schoolteacher, his father owns a business, [and] Mr. Blackstone has worked for his father,” Parisi said, adding, “While I acknowledge that the allegation there was a significant number of pills that were located…I don’t know that those pills have been tested to know what the content is.
“So we would ask the court…to set the bail at $250,000. That is a significant amount of money for a young man with no prior record. It would assure the public safety as well as his return to court,” she said.
DDA Newton conceded, “Ms. Parisi is correct, the laboratory has yet to confirm the content of those pills, however, the DEA and the Sacramento Police Department both feel in their expert opinion you’re dealing with upwards of 4,500 Oxycontin pills that are possibly laced with Fentanyl, which was a substance that was in the young lady’s body…
“And Xanax pills that are also, according to the DEA, counterfeit, which also could contain Fentanyl, that has not been confirmed,” the prosecutor added, noting, “Mr. Blackstone’s materials also included upwards of $17,000 in cash, and he had a modified pistol that is a machine gun. It’s set for automatic fire with extra capacity clips.
“So your honor, the concern is Mr. Blackstone is obviously a semi-sophisticated pill dealer in the neighborhood he lives in,” the DDA finished.
“Even though he’s 19,” added Judge Thorbourne.
“True, he is young, and he lives with his mom, and he has no record. But according to the police, they found witnesses that apparently have seen him dealing pills in the open in his neighborhood, which means he’s either incredibly stupid or incredibly brazen,” stated DDA Newton.
“Either way, it shows the court he’s not willing to participate in obeying the laws of our state. The female he was caught with confirmed he possessed that firearm and is essentially a pill dealer,” said Newton.
“So he’s clearly a danger to Sacramento County. He’s a flight risk because his exposure is so high. I’d ask that…[where] the schedule is upwards of $500,000; I’m asking for at least that upwards to $1 million to hold him because he’s a danger.”
“It clearly was a tragic and unfortunate set of circumstances,” said Parisi. “But in truth, Mr. Blackstone was very cooperative, called 911, did everything he could to assist, was forthcoming with the officers, and it’s clear that, unfortunately, the individual had access to other drugs that may have caused the problem.
“Mr. Blackstone does live with his mother, he would abide by any terms and conditions, including GPS, as well as complying, obviously, with the conditions. Though I would ask the court to not exceed bail, the bail scheduled at $500,000.”
“You know, we are restrained, we are directed not to lock people up pre-trial, and (not) set bail in an amount that is it clear that they would not be able to pay,” said Judge Thorbourne.
Judge Thorbourne continued to ask what the defendant’s parents do for a living.
“His mother is a second-grade teacher, and his father runs a business, a skilled nursing facility…he [the defendant] was working with his father at the skilled nursing facility,” replied Parisi.
“Well, you know, given how young he is, setting bail at a significant amount, very high, would… you’d be approaching the line of an unlawful pretrial detention that we’re all supposed to be mindful not to do,” explained Judge Thorbourne.
“However, the facts that Mr. Newton has laid out this morning are very compelling in terms of the level of sophistication that is this involvement of Mr. Blackstone,” added the judge, who set the bail at the bail schedule amount of $500,000.
A further hearing is set for March 29.
Derrick Pal is a fourth-year student at Sacramento State majoring in Criminal Justice and pursuing a minor in Sociology. He is from Elk Grove, California.
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