GREENVILLE — The jury returned a verdict of guilty Wednesday evening after about three hours of deliberation in the trial of Raymond Emerson.
Emerson, of Arcanum, was found guilty of a charge of corrupting another with drugs, a second-degree felony, in the overdose death of his wife, Angela Emerson, on Jan. 18, 2014.
Emerson was accused of cutting in a half a fentanyl patch that his wife had bought from a local drug dealer and then applying it to her abdomen. Emerson reportedly took a nap after adminstering the patch and awoke to find his wife nonresponsive, slumped over on the couch and lying in vomit. He called 9-1-1 in a state of apparent anguish. A recording of the call was played during trial, and Emerson broke down in tears as he listened.
According to her autopsy, Angela Emerson was found with nine different drugs of five different classifications, as well as marijuana, in her system at the time of her death. Her cause of death was determined to be multiple drug toxicity.
Evidence was presented during the trial showing a history of prescription drug abuse and illicit drug use by the victim. She was being treated by bipolar disorder and chronic pain caused by fibromyalgia and spinal stenosis, and she had a history of depression, though she repeatedly denied having suicidal thoughts, according to medical records presented.
She was admitted at Wayne HealthCare on three separate occasions for overdoses in the 15 months prior to her death — two of those were in the three months before she died, including abuse of fentanyl as well as heroin.
The state presented evidence showing Emerson, a registered nurse, had been put in charge of monitoring his wife’s prescription use.
Angela’s friend Cora Rice testified at trial, “She was always depressed, sad,” adding “she was usually always messed up,” referring to Angela’s drug use. Rice testified that she had sometimes found the victim lying in bed, incoherent and foaming at the mouth. Rice also said that Emerson had frequently chided his wife for her drug use, and even Rice herself had told her that she needed to “slow down.”
A date for sentencing has not yet been set.