Elizabeth Crawford, once charged with manslaughter, will spend 18 months on probation to a significantly lesser charge of attempted abuse of a vulnerable adult.
Crawford was sentenced Monday in Lincoln County Court to 72 days in jail, the time she’s already served in the county jail.
Crawford, 40, allegedly assisted in her older sister's fatal overdose in August, but attorneys made a deal in the case, and Crawford pled no contest to attempted abuse of a vulnerable adult and attempted possession of methamphetamine – both misdemeanors.
She was initially charged with manslaughter and possessing meth with intent to distribute. In exchange for the reduced charge, Crawford agreed to continue to cooperate in the prosecution of co-defendant Jeffrey Manary.
The case began on Aug. 3, when emergency personnel were called to Crawford’s home after her sister, Esther M. Smith, collapsed after overdosing on meth. Smith, 45, was pronounced dead at the hospital.
The next day, Manary was also arrested and charged with the same crimes.
During court proceedings, County Attorney Rebecca Harling said the night Smith died, Crawford helped her inject meth and then left her unattended in a room for about an hour. She came back in to find Smith unresponsive.
Smith had a long history of drug addiction and mental health issues, Harling said, but Crawford didn’t supply the meth.
Defense attorney Robert Lindemeier said the physical cause of Smith’s death was hard to pinpoint. “She (Smith) may have shot up again after my client left the room,” Lindemeier said.
Manary, who has gained a significant amount of weight in jail, last appeared in court May 21. Attorneys said they are prepared to go to trial, but left the door open to a possible plea agreement.
County Attorney Rebecca Harling asked the court to call the attorneys and Manary back into court near the end of June to review the status of the case. Judge Donald Rowlands agreed.
In other district court action Monday, Stephanie Gutherless and Nadine Little Florea were both sentenced to one and a half to three years in the state women's correctional center.
Gutherless, 28, pled guilty to meth distribution and theft. She was arrested Oct. 25 after a 15-year-old state ward tested positive for meth, which came from Gutherless.
The 15-year-old said Gutherless is his cousin and she supplied meth to him twice. The 15-year-old also said Gutherless used his mother’s stolen ATM card to buy the meth, police said.