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Susan Lovick: “It was completely wrong for you to walk out like that”

By Walter Geiger Two of three defendants in the Ryan Lovick overdose case entered pleas in Lamar superior court during their arraignments August 15. Elbert Tyler Horton and Katherine Noelle Nordan pleaded to one count each of abandonment of a dead body. They were sentenced to the 18-month drug court program. The third person charged in the case, Jessica Amanda Casteel, was in court but did not enter a plea. ‘She is to discuss it with her attorney and he is going to get back in touch with me,’ district attorney Richard Milam said. Milam said the four young people partied at the Lovick home on Hwy. 36 East January 15-16 while Lovick’s mother, Susan Lovick, was out of town on business. ‘They mixed methadone with Gatorade. At least three of them drank it – these two and the deceased. Lovick also smoked marijuana and drank alcohol. Miss Nordan got sick. They later realized Lovick was dead but decided to clean up and leave knowing his mother would find him,’ he said. Susan Lovick made a long, heart-wrenching statement that left many in tears, noting she had been a single mom to Ryan and his older sister since Ryan was two years old. ‘He was taught to be respectful. He was helpful and friendly. Everybody loved Ryan. He always had a smile on his face,’ she said. Susan Lovick said she was out of town January 14 and 15 but called and texted Ryan. She came home on the 16th but could not contact her son that day. ’I got home at 4 p.m. I knew there had been a party but the house was not a wreck. I called for Ryan but got no response. About 10 minutes later Jessica (Casteel) pulled up. She said she couldn’t get Ryan either. We went upstairs and shook him. He didn’t move. Liquid was coming from his lips. He was cold, chilled and had blotches all over his body,’ she testified. Mrs. Lovick then asked Casteel to call 911 but she did not move and Lovick called herself. She did CPR and asked Casteel to help but she couldn’t do it. ‘The paramedics got there and told us to stop. He was gone. Rigor mortis had set in. He had been laying there all day. Jessica said there was no party. She told the paramedics there was no party. I went to my dad’s while they processed my house. Tyler called me. We knew something wasn’t right,’ she continued. Speaking to the defendants, she continued, ‘It was completely wrong for you to walk out like that. Tyler, you were supposed to be Ryan’s best friend. He wouldn’t have left you. I understand you were scared but you didn’t do the right thing.’ After a pause to compose herself, Mrs. Lovick ripped into Casteel. ’She came to my house acting like nothing was wrong when she knew better. She was the worst. She is evil in my book,’ she said. Mrs. Lovick noted she understood the law, the charges and the drug court program but wanted something more for Nordan and Horton than a slap on the wrist. ’I want this to be an eye-opening experience for y’all. I want you to stop using drugs and help others to stop using drugs. I know Ryan was at fault for taking that drug but I don’t have my boy anymore. If you had done something earlier, it might have helped,’ she concluded. Both Horton and Nordan apologized to their dead friend’s mother. ’I am sorry for your loss. I can’t imagine what you are going through. I loved Ryan. God bless you. I am sorry,’ Horton said. ’I am very sorry for the tragedy that happened ‘“ very sorry,’ Nordan added. Horton entered a straight guilty plea. Nordan entered an Alford plea through which defendants admit guilt but attest they were too intoxicated to understand their actions. As part of their plea deals, both agreed to testify against Casteel if her case goes to trial.

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