Man Injects 4 Year-Old Son With Heroine Cocktail

Suspected overdose: A father allegedly injected himself and his four-year-old son with heroin in Redmond, Washington

Suspected overdose: A father allegedly injected himself and his four-year-old son with heroin in Redmond, Washington

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A Washington man injected his 4-year-old son with heroin on the day his divorce from his wife was finalized, in an attempt to kill the boy with an overdose, police have revealed.

Eric Emil Lehtinen, 37, is accused of repeatedly jabbing in young son with needles and injecting him with heroin and a cocktail of other drugs, among them ketamine, morphine and codeine.

He then injected himself with high doses of drugs, as well. When the boy’s mother when to Lehtinen’s Redmond, Washington, home to pick her son up, she found both Lehtinen and the child unconscious.

A needle was still sticking out of the boy’s chest, according to police.

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Mom guilty in baseball bat attack on son’s drug dealer

Heroin pusher gets whacked by mother fed up with predator destroying her child

Sherrie Gavan convicted of assault

Sherrie Gavanand her husband, Bryan Gavan (left), listen as her attorney, William Goldstein, speaks to reporters after she was convicted of assault on Tuesday, April 23, 2013, at the Jefferson County Courthouse in Hillsboro. Photo by Christian Gooden, cgooden@post-dispatch.com

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HILLSBORO • In just a few short months, Sherrie Gavan said, her son went from a straight-A student who loved baseball and scuba diving to a listless teenager with a short fuse.

Then she figured out the cause: heroin addiction, an epidemic that has upended life for countless parents across the St. Louis area in the past five years.

Gavan told a court on Tuesday that she took desperate measures to get her son, Clayton, now 19, clean. She slept next to him as he shook and sweated through withdrawals. She enrolled him in a new school to keep him away from a bad crowd. She sent him off to live with relatives and even took him to work with her.

But a jury decided she went too far when she struck the 22-year-old man who helped supply heroin to her son with a baseball bat.

Gavan, 54, was found guilty Tuesday of third-degree assault, a class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to a $1,000 fine and a year in jail.

It took the jury a little more than two hours to convict her.

“I don’t know what happens from here,” Gavan said after the verdict. “I just know you can’t protect your child anymore.”

Gavan’s sentencing is scheduled for June 4.

The trial touched on a variety of issues from addiction to parenting and offered a brutal portrait of two families struggling against a drug that has claimed hundreds of lives in the past few years.

In the end, there didn’t seem to be much debate about the facts.

Joshua Loyd, 22, admitted he helped supply Clayton Gavan with heroin by taking him to a friend’s mother to get the drug.

Sherrie Gavan, 54, didn’t dispute that she struck Loyd with a burgundy-colored baseball bat outside his home on Dec. 20, 2011.

Gavan’s attorney, William Goldstein, argued that his client had only been acting out of love for her son.

“She did what any good mother would do,” Goldstein said. “She went down there (to Joshua’s house) for one purpose and for one purpose only: get Josh out of her life.”

But Assistant Jefferson County Prosecutor Jacob Costello admonished jurors not to get caught up in the emotion of events but to focus on the law.

“This case is not about whether Mrs. Gavan is a good parent,” he said. “You can’t take matters into your own hands like that. … She made a choice to pull out the baseball bat.”

What seemed to undermine Gavan’s case was an encounter she and her husband, Bryan Gavan, had at the Loyd family’s house the night before the baseball bat attack.

Steve Loyd, Josh’s father, testified that Sherrie and Bryan Gavan showed up on his doorstep about 11:30 p.m. on Dec. 19, 2011.

They warned him to keep Josh away from their son, Steve Loyd said, and Bryan Gavan threatened to shoot Josh if he saw him again.

Loyd said he had told the Gavans that his son was no drug dealer.

“Do you think all these kids are in the same boat?” Costello asked him.

“Yes,” Loyd said. “It’s terrible.

Bryan Gavan told the court that he had only threatened to shoot Josh if he came on the family’s property and that the threat was not serious.

“It was more grandeur,” Bryan Gavan said. “I was very frustrated.”

Clayton Gavan had recently relapsed, and on Dec. 20, 2011, Sherrie Gavan had taken Clayton to the Pizza Hut she managed in south St. Louis County. She said she watched her son’s face drain of color when he saw Josh Loyd’s car pull up in the parking lot.

Gavan then watched Loyd drive away and got into her own car to follow him. She caught up to him at his house and yelled at him to stay away from her son.

Gavan said Loyd pulled an unidentified object about the size of half a brick out of his car. She then reached inside her Jeep for the bat.

Gavan said Loyd walked toward her and she struck him twice with the bat on the arm.

For his part, Loyd told the jury that he might have been high on heroin that day and said that when Gavan approached — even with the bat in hand — he wasn’t afraid for his safety. Loyd is 5 foot 9 inches and 195 pounds; Gavan is 4 foot 11 inches and 115 pounds.

He did not seek medical attention for his injuries and acknowledged he had not been badly hurt.

Loyd also said he could not identify Gavan in the courtroom despite the fact that she was sitting only a few feet from him.

Loyd also acknowledged that he had twice overdosed on heroin and had to be revived at a hospital.

He also said that he was now clean — though he faces pending charges of felony possession of drugs and theft.

Throughout the trial, Gavan said she fought the charges rather than plead guilty to help shine a spotlight on the problem of heroin.

“I thought it was important to get the story out,” she said.

And despite the conviction, she said, she achieved what she wanted by confronting Loyd. Loyd has not contacted her son since, and Clayton has been clean for more than a year.

“My son is alive,” she said. “That’s all that matters. … I will take my life over his any day.”

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