'This is Russian roulette': Man pleads guilty in deadly overdose case

Aimee Ambrose
York Dispatch

A Harrisburg man admitted he sold heroin that ultimately killed a Newberry Township man more than four years ago, though, through his attorney, he said he didn’t know the drug was laced with other substances.

Jayre Jackson,

Jayre Jackson, 26, appeared in York County Court of Common Pleas on Tuesday and pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of involuntary manslaughter and two felony counts of possession with intent to deliver drugs. The top count in the case, drug delivery resulting in death, was dismissed as part of the plea agreement.

Judge Amber Kraft sentenced him to four to 13 years in prison.

Jackson admitted he sold heroin to Steven Landschoot, 27, but the drug was laced with fentanyl and/or tramadol. Landschoot then overdosed and died in December 2017. Jackson was charged in 2020 following more than two years of investigation.

“He never, ever, meant to hurt anybody,” Jackson’s attorney, Thomas Kelley, insisted.

Kelley said Jackson didn’t know fentanyl was in the heroin he sold, adding that the batch caused quick overdoses at the time.

“This is Russian roulette,” he said, echoing concerns Judge Kraft stated.

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Landschoot’s family indicated the effects of his death rippled out through them. Chief Deputy Prosecutor Erin Kraska read statements from his sister and mom, a woman who filled the role of his biological mother. No names were provided.

“He died with his son lying next to him,” Kraska read from the sister’s statement.

In the statement, the sister called Landschoot her “bubba" and lamented the loss of so much potential.

“Why would someone be so messed up to lace drugs knowing they could kill someone in such a small dose,” Kraska read from the statement.

Jackson turned toward the gallery as he apologized for Landschoot’s death.

“I’m truly sorry for what happened, and I hope that one day you have it in your heart to forgive me,” he said.

Judge Kraft shed tears as she expressed condolences to the family and began ordering the sentence.

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Broken down, the sentence called for four to 13 years in prison for the two drug dealing charges, and two and a half to five years for the manslaughter charge. The sentences will all run at the same time.

The term in this case will be added, for the most part, on top of a sentence Jackson is serving in a case out of Cumberland County. Kraft ordered the manslaughter portion to also run at the same time as a portion of the Cumberland County sentence.

In that case, Jackson pleaded guilty to possession with intent to deliver drugs and involuntary manslaughter in 2019 stemming from another fatal overdose incident. He was sentenced to four and a half years to 10 years in prison on those counts, according to court documents.

— Aimee Ambrose can be reached at aambrose@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @aimee_TYD.