LIMA — Pleas of not guilty were entered Wednesday in Allen County Common Pleas Court on behalf of a 26-year-old Lima man, one of two persons charged with involuntary manslaughter in the September 2018 overdose death of the resident of a homeless shelter for men.
Derek Kitchen was indicted by the recent session of the grand jury on charges of involuntary manslaughter, a first-degree felony; aggravated trafficking in drugs (fentanyl), a felony of the fourth degree; and trafficking in cocaine, a fifth-degree felony. He appeared before Judge Jeffrey Reed for an arraignment hearing Wednesday.
A co-defendant in the case, 26-year-old Lima resident Andrea Croft, pleaded not guilty last week to identical charges in connection with the death of Shawn Hutchinson, whose lifeless body was discovered Sept. 6 at The Mission, a homeless shelter located at 216 E. Wayne Street in Lima.
According to court records, Lima police were dispatched to The Mission in reference to a deceased person. Staff members told officers a foul odor was coming from one of the apartments and that during a subsequent wellness check employees of the shelter found Hutchinson deceased on his bed. Hutchinson had a hypodermic needle in his right hand and detectives determined the man had died of an apparent drug overdose, documents reveal.
Reviewing phone records, police learned Hutchinson had been in contact with Andrea Croft regarding the sale of heroin and that he had asked her to bring drugs to his apartment. Security footage outside The Mission reportedly shows a female, determined to be Croft, arriving at the shelter on a bicycle and being greeted outside by Hutchinson. The woman reportedly was carrying a bag that she handed to Hutchinson. Police concluded that Croft “did knowingly furnish Hutchinson with suspected heroin and the hypodermic needle,” causing his death, according to court documents.
Croft reportedly told police she had purchased the drugs from Kitchen and that he had furnished the hypodermic needle as well.
Both Kitchen and Croft are being held in the Allen County jail on $75,000 bonds.
Reach J Swygart at 567-242-0464.