40-month sentence handed down following teen's heroin-related death [corrected]

By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to reflect the fact that David Allen Clampett Zavodny pleaded guilty to charges of delivery of a controlled substance and not possession.

PORT ANGELES — A 19-year-old initially charged in the heroin-related death of another teenager described as his friend expressed remorse for the teen's death after his 40-month conditional sentence was handed down in Clallam County Superior Court on Thursday.

“I feel terrible about everything that happened. Words can't describe how apologetic I am to his family and all his friends,” David Allen Clampett Zavodny, of Port Angeles, told the court after his sentencing.

Zavodny was arrested in connection with the May 14 death of Maceo Niehaus, 17 and of Port Angeles, at a home in the 700 block of South Ennis Street and initially charged with controlled substance homicide after Niehaus' death was confirmed as a heroin overdose.

Zavodny pleaded guilty March 20 under a plea agreement to two counts of delivery of a controlled substance — heroin and methamphetamine — and one count each of maintaining premises for drug trafficking and possession of heroin, all felony drug charges.

The agreement dropped the controlled substance homicide charge.

Superior Court Judge George Wood sentenced Zavodny Thursday after the agreement was reached between Karen Unger, Zavodny's retained defense attorney, and Clallam County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Paul Conroy.

Zavodny is set to serve 20 months in prison and undergo an inmate drug treatment program, Unger explained.

After 20 months, Zavodny will be released to continue the treatment program under state Department of Correction supervision, Wood said.

If Zavodny fails in his treatment, he will return to prison to serve the remaining 20 months, Wood said.

“If the death of your friend is not motivation enough, then I don't know what will be,” Wood said.

Conroy said the charges and sentence were agreed upon after discussions with law enforcement, Unger and Niehaus' mother.

“This was a tough case for the state, a difficult case for the defense, but I think [the plea agreement] a reasonable resolution to the case given the facts and circumstances,” Conroy said.

Unger said she felt that the case was initially overcharged.

“I don't believe my client is guilty of controlled substance homicide,” Unger said.

“This is an extraordinarily tragic situation.”

Unger said Niehaus was a close friend of Zavodny's and that both suffered from drug addiction.

“If Mr. Zavodny doesn't change his way and learn from this, he's going to be the next funeral we'll be attending,” Unger said.

“Hopefully this will make a dent in Mr. Zavodny's addiction to drugs and he will do what he needs to do to stay free of drugs for the rest of his life as a testament to his friend,” she added.

According to Port Angeles police accounts, Niehaus stopped breathing after he injected himself with heroin Zavodny had reportedly given him at the 19-year-old's residence.

Zavodny reportedly applied ice and cold water to Niehaus in an attempt to revive him, calling 9-1-1 between 40 and 45 minutes after Niehaus stopped breathing.

More than 300 friends and family attended Niehaus' May 23 funeral.

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Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at jschwartz@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: March 27. 2014 6:53PM
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