Heroin dealer in fatal overdose pleads guilty, faces 16 years in prison

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CENTRAL ISLIP -

A Ridge man pleaded guilty Monday to selling heroin to a young man who overdosed and died.

Richard Jacobellis, 24, entered the plea and agreed to be sentenced to 16 years in prison for the crime. Jacobellis could have faced 20 years to life behind bars if the case had gone to trial in federal court and led to a conviction.

The man who overdosed was 20-year-old Nicholas Weber, who had been a wrestling star at Kings Park High School. He died in May 2016. Prosecutors say he had attended Suffolk County Community College and had been accepted to Stony Brook University to study physics before his death.

Weber's father was in court today and says he accepts the 16-year sentence for the defendant. He said he hopes some good comes of it.

"My son was a great kid, he just made a foolish kid mistake," says Weber's father, Stephen Weber. "I hope the defendant serves his time honorably, and finds a way to somehow give back to the community, which he's taken so much from. I just hope everyone finds peace from this."

Jacobellis' attorney says his client is remorseful.

"He got caught up in this scourge of this opiod crisis. He used the same heroin that Nick Weber used. For whatever reason, Richard didn't die," says the attorney, Justin Levine.

Jacobellis was originally facing additional charges for selling heroin to another person who overdosed in 2015. That person survived, but prosecutors say he suffered permanent brain damage.

Jacobellis will be sentenced on the one charge he pleaded guilty to in October.

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