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BLOOMINGTON — Before he was sentenced to 11 years in prison, Troy McBride apologized Friday to the family of the man who overdosed after using heroin McBride sold to him.

"I didn't intend for James to lose his life," McBride said.

McBride explained that he arranged the drug deal as a favor for a friend who was in jail and needed someone to sell his drugs to raise money for his commissary account at the jail.

McBride must serve 75 percent of the sentence.

In a victim impact statement submitted to Judge Scott Drazewski, the victim's father, Gordon Dingman, recalled finding his 41-year-old son slumped in a chair at a residence in the 2200 block of Todd Drive, Bloomington.

"He looked like he was peacefully sleeping. ... As I pulled him upright the horror slapped me in the face and I knew he was gone," the father wrote.

James Dingman, known as Jamie, struggled with addiction and mental health issues, according to his father's letter. But he seemed to be doing better in the weeks before his death as he talked about employment opportunities and picking up some college courses.

In her letter, the victim's mother, Susan Killeen, said "the loss of a son is horrendous by any stretch of the imagination but the avoidable death of your child through drugs is atrocious."

The agony of such a loss is akin to being "in a tunnel of sorts with the wind and debris blowing at you, hitting you hard," said the mother's statement. The pain, she said, is never-ending.

In remarks directed at McBride, the mother acknowledged that the defendant "did not put a gun to Jamie's head and pull the trigger. That was his doing. But sadly you had a part in the game. And now everyone is paying the price."

The mother urged McBride to use his time in prison to improve his life. 

"Don't make this death be the end of you, rather make it your turning point," the victim's mother told McBride.

Assistant State's Attorney Jeff Horve asked for a 14-year sentence for McBride — the maximum term available under the plea agreement. The prosecutor pointed out that money was the motive for the drug sale by McBride, who was on conditional discharge for a misdemeanor at the time.

The prison sentence "will end for Mr. McBride, but the pain and agony for the parents will never go away," said Horve.

Defense lawyer Philip Finegan sought a six-year prison term for McBride. The defendant had no history of selling drugs, but "he certainly became a drug dealer for those five days as he tried to help his friend," said Finegan.

In imposing the sentence, the judge said he was moved by the parents' statements and letters written on McBride's behalf. The submissions expressed "sorrow, insight, wisdom, compassion, and some letters recognized that life needs to go on for you and the family of the victim as well," said Drazewski.

The drug deal was "a mistake that has severe consequences," said the judge. 

McBride also was ordered to pay $12,752 restitution to the victim's mother for funeral costs and a $500 street value fine.

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Contact Edith Brady-Lunny at (309) 820-3276. Follow her on Twitter: @pg_blunny

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McLean County Courts Reporter

McLean County courts reporter for The Pantagraph.

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