DAYTONA BEACH — The mother of an Ormond Beach teenager who drank methadone had trouble containing her fury Friday as she testified at Richard Newkirk’s sentencing hearing. Patti Wilcher’s son, Austin Wilcher, was 17 and his friend Bryce Parson was 14 on May 24, 2011, when Newkirk showed them how to drink the contents of used methadone bottles mixed with warm water. Parson died. Wilcher lived but, at one point, no longer wanted to, his mother said.
“You are a predator,” Wilcher testified, looking at Newkirk. “You might as well have given them a gun and had them play Russian roulette with it, because they would have done it for you. Because they loved you.”
Newkirk was sentenced to 24 years in prison after pleading no contest to second-degree murder. He admitted that he had the boys drink the substance after he drove them to a Dumpster near Whitney Laboratories, 1095 N. U.S. 1 in Ormond Beach, and had them get the bottles out so he could make it. The three brought the bottles to a friend’s home at 99 Mayfield Circle, where they mixed the contents with water and drank the solution from Styrofoam cups and a gallon jug in the garage, Austin Wilcher testified. He said Newkirk told the boys drinking the stuff would “feel like taking a bunch of (Lortabs).”
Newkirk has a long criminal history that includes 22 misdemeanor convictions and two felony convictions, prosecutor Ed Davis said. A grand jury indicted him on first-degree murder charges but he pleaded no contest to the lesser charge as well as delivery of a controlled substance to a minor as part of a plea deal. He had faced a maximum penalty of life in prison. Austin Wilcher said Friday that Newkirk, who was on probation, had the boys get the bottles “because Richard could not do it because he was arrested there already.” He said Newkirk told the children nothing would happen to them if they were caught because they were minors.
He said Parson was afraid that he would die that night, but Newkirk reassured him he wouldn’t.
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