Charges brought in Concord father’s overdose death

  • Jennifer Mitchell arrives for her bail hearing at Merrimack County Superior Court in Concord on Friday, April 20, 2018. Mitchell was ordered held on $40,000 bail. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Jennifer Mitchell is led into Merrimack County Superior Court in Concord on Friday, April 20, 2018, for her bail hearing on a felony charge of sale of a controlled drug with death resulting. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 4/20/2018 7:03:27 PM

Five months after a father of three fatally overdosed in a Concord hotel room, authorities have arrested two women in connection with his death.

Shea Black, 43, a Concord High School graduate, died on Nov. 25 after he snorted what he thought was heroin inside a room at the Days Inn downtown, according to court documents. The state medical examiner later determined Black’s cause of death was “acute intoxication due to the combined effects of ethanol and fentanyl.”

The woman who police say dealt Black the illicit drugs was back in court Friday afternoon for the second time in a week. Jennifer Mitchell, 32, of Concord was first arrested April 12 and charged with sale of fentanyl in the capital city on Nov. 24; however, she was not directly charged at that time with selling Black the narcotic drug that resulted in his death.

A police affidavit shows Mitchell met up with Stephanie Mills in the bathroom of a restaurant on Fort Eddy Road, where the two engaged in a drug deal at Black’s request. Black drove Mills to the restaurant and then gave her $200 to buy 2 grams of heroin from Mitchell, police allege.

From there, Black and Mills checked into a hotel room on the second floor of the Days Inn. The next morning, Mills called 911 after saying she found Black unresponsive, the affidavit says.

A months-long investigation by Concord police and the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office culminated this week when Mitchell and Mills were taken into custody on charges of sale of a controlled drug with death resulting. Mitchell faced a judge Friday afternoon in Merrimack County Superior Court, while Mills was taken into custody in New York and brought back to Concord where she refused bail. Mills will be arraigned Monday.

Each woman faces a maximum sentence of life in prison with the possibility of parole.

Following Mitchell’s initial arrest on April 12, she had been released back into the community on $10,000 personal recognizance with the condition that she participate in the county’s pretrial services program. She was out of jail for exactly a week before Concord police officers showed up at her home Thursday night to serve a warrant in the death resulting case.

Mitchell pleaded not guilty to the charge at her arraignment and bail hearing Friday. While her attorney argued that bail remain as previously set by the court, the attorney general’s office spoke in opposition to the request and recommended $40,000 cash.

Public defender Mariana “Maya” Dominguez told Judge Richard McNamara that the allegations against Mitchell remain largely unchanged despite the fact that the new charge was filed. Dominguez noted that Mitchell knew the death resulting charge could be forthcoming and yet she did not flee and, further, she did not resist arrest Thursday night.

However, state statute mandates that anyone accused of serious crimes with strong evidence against them be denied bail, Senior Assistant Attorney General Ben Agati said. Because a judge has yet to hear the evidence in the death resulting case against Mitchell, Agati recommended a bail amount of $40,000 cash.

McNamara agreed with Agati, saying he was bound by the statute. He ordered Mitchell held on $40,000 bail pending a further hearing May 4, which is expected to include witness testimony and last a couple of hours.

Black, who was born in Peterborough, leaves behind his wife and three children, according to his obituary. Black most recently worked as a registered nurse after attending NHTI in Concord and Lakes Region Community College. Previously, he worked as a hairstylist for more than two decades.

“Shea will be remembered for his huge heart and the love he felt for his family,” his obituary reads.

(Alyssa Dandrea can be reached at 369-3319, adandrea@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @_ADandrea.)


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