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Final overdose death defendant pleads guilty

By Walter Geiger Jessica Amanda Casteel of Williamson, the last unsentenced codefendant in the Ryan Lovick overdose case, entered a plea of guilty to one count of abandonment of a dead body in Lamar superior court Jan. 8. Casteel’s case was not on the court calendar but was pushed through because her attorney, Johnnie Caldwell Jr., must report to the state legislature this week. Judge Bill Fears sentenced Casteel to three years probation under the first offender act. She can petition to end her probation after one year and, if she avoids other arrests, her record will be clean after she serves the probationary period. Judge Fears did not sentence Casteel, 20, to drug court where her codefendants, Elbert Tyler Horton and Katherine Noelle Nordan, were sent. ‘The judge did not think she was a candidate for drug court and he was correct according to the evidence we had,’ district attorney Richard Milam said. The victim’s mother, Susan Lovick, was called to court on short notice for the sentencing. ’Nothing will bring my son back. One day, all three of them will have to stand before God and answer for their lack of action. (Casteel’s) testimony was she was not drinking or using illegal drugs that night. With that said, she would have been the clear minded one there and should have made the call for help but chose not to. They will all have to live the rest of their lives with Ryan’s death on their consciences. I am glad the criminal cases are over so I can grieve in private,’ Mrs. Lovick said. According to prosecutors, the four young people partied at the Lovick home on Hwy. 36 East on Jan. 15-16, 2013 while Mrs. Lovick was out of town on a business trip. Ryan Lovick, Horton and Nordan mixed Gatorade with methadone and drank it. Ryan Lovick also drank alcohol and smoked marijuana. His body was found in bed by his mother when she returned home at about 4 p.m. Jan. 16.

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