Joseph Joudah, 19, facing felony charges for recklessly & negligently injecting girlfriend
MINEOLA, N.Y. – Acting Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas and Acting Nassau County Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter announced a college student from Suffolk County was arraigned on grand jury indictment charges today related to the heroin overdose death of his girlfriend earlier this year.
Joseph Joudah, 19, of Islip Terrace, was indicted on the following grand jury charges today:
Manslaughter in the 2nd Degree (a C felony)Criminally Negligent Homicide (an E felony)Criminal Injection of a Narcotic Drug (an E felony)Reckless Endangerment in the 2nd Degree (an A misdemeanor)Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the 7th Degree (an A misdemeanor)Criminally Possessing a Hypodermic Instrument (an A misdemeanor)
Nassau County Supreme Court Justice Angelo Delligatti set bail at $10,000 bond or $5,000 cash. Joudah is due back in court on Nov. 23. If convicted of the top count, he faces a maximum sentence of 5 to 15 years in prison.
“This is a tragic case that reminds us that heroin knows no boundaries,” Acting DA Singas said. “This defendant allegedly injected 19-year-old Olivia McClellan with heroin and failed to get her timely help knowing that she was in the throes of an overdose and alone in her room. While we continue our efforts to educate young people, get treatment to those who need help, and encourage overdose witnesses to call 911 immediately, we will also hold accountable anyone who recklessly and negligently causes another person’s death in the manner that this defendant did.”
Acting Police Commissioner Tom Krumpter stated: “Last year in Nassau County there were 782 overdoses, 91 of them fatal. Fatal heroin overdoses in Nassau County have more than doubled from 18 to 44. The heroin and opioid epidemic is not exclusive to Nassau County as it is a nationwide problem. Today's indictment of Joseph Joudah should send a clear message that here in Nassau County you will be held accountable should you stand idly by and let someone slip away from an overdose. I am proud of the members of the Nassau County Police Department who put countless investigative hours into this case to bring this individual to justice.”
Acting DA Singas said that on April 18 at approximately 6:30 p.m., Joudah allegedly accompanied his 19-year-old girlfriend and classmate, Olivia McClellan, to her dorm room at a university in Nassau County with several bags of heroin. He allegedly injected McClellan with heroin into her left hand having the belief that she had taken (legally obtained) prescription medication and having the belief that she had once attempted suicide by taking heroin. Her eyes rolled back, she displayed difficulty breathing, and her legs shook uncontrollably, among other signs of physical distress. Joudah allegedly injected himself as well, and stayed in the room with McClellan until about 9 p.m., when he left having the belief that only he, alone, knew of McClellan’s physical distress and its cause.
Joudah allegedly attempted several times in the evening and the next day to contact McClellan by text message or phone call, but got no response. At approximately 2:15 p.m., Joudah, without identifying himself, called his university’s campus security, who responded to McClellan’s dorm room and found her deceased on her bed.
Campus officials contacted the Nassau County Police Department, which began a joint investigation with the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office. Campus officials are cooperating fully with the investigation.
Autopsy results found one needle mark in McClellan’s body, as well as both heroin and her prescription medicine in her system, ruling the cause of her death to be heroin overdose, and ruling out all other causes of death.
Acting DA Singas also called for the public to become aware of – and take advantage of – New York State’s “Good Samaritan Law” which protects those who call 911 to help an overdose victim from being prosecuted for low-level drug possession charges.
“If you see someone suffering from an overdose, don’t think twice – call 911 for help immediately,” Acting DA Singas said. “The law protects you from certain possession charges to encourage you to save someone’s life.”
Acting DA Singas recently committed $585,000 in criminal asset forfeiture funds -- no taxpayer dollars are used -- to close a treatment gap in Nassau County so people who overdose on heroin can get seamless treatment from the emergency room to the long-term care they need to rehabilitate.
Acting DA Singas and her prosecutors also recently authored a package of bills that crack down on heroin dealers, including a "Death by Dealer" statute that applies felony homicide charges to certain dealers whose customers die.
Deputy Bureau Chief Brian Lee of Acting DA Singas’ County Court Trial Bureau is prosecuting the case. Joudah is represented by Kevin Keating, Esq.
The charges are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless found guilty.