Drug dealer sentenced to 30 years for murder in woman’s OD death

A bittersweet court victory for a Flagler County family whose daughter died from a drug overdose. On Monday, International Drug Overdose Awareness Day, a drug dealer was sentenced to 30 years in prison for her death, on a murder indictment.

BUNNELL, Fla. – A Bunnell man arrested two years ago after a woman died of an overdose from drugs he is accused of selling her pleaded guilty Monday to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 30 years in prison.

The indictment of Joseph Colon on a murder charge in 2018 was the first of its kind in Flagler County. After he was sentenced, Sheriff Rick Staly and Seventh Judicial Circuit State Attorney R.J. Larizza were joined by the victim’s parents to talk about the case.

“The first drug dealer in Flagler County to be charged with murder in connection with a drug overdose was sentenced to 30 years in prison on International Drug Overdose Awareness Day. That is poetic justice,” Staly said in a statement “I hope that in some way this helps bring healing to the family of Savannah DeAngelis. I have a warning to other poison peddlers. We investigate every overdose death as a murder and you will be next to go to state prison.”

Investigators learned Colon was captured on surveillance video about 11:30 a.m. Oct. 28, 2017, entering 23-year-old Savannah DeAngelis’ Palm Coast subdivision. Witnesses also told detectives that they saw DeAngelis run outside of her home on Front Street and take something from a man driving a black Nissan.

About noon that day, deputies responded to a possible overdose at the Front Street home after investigators said DeAngelis’ father found her unconscious on the bathroom floor. DeAngelis was taken to Florida Hospital Flagler and was placed on life support. Deputies said she died nearly two weeks later.

Detectives said they found a syringe, an empty baggie and another baggie containing a substance. According to the charging affidavit, the substance inside the second baggie was heroin mixed with fentanyl.

About a week later, deputies said, Colon was arrested during a traffic stop and charged with trafficking in hydromorphone; possession of heroin, crack cocaine and Alparazolam with intent to distribute; possession of oxycodone; and driving with a suspended license. He was booked into the Flagler County jail, where he has remained.

Several months later, a Flagler County grand jury on Tuesday indicted Colon on a charge of first-degree murder in DeAngelis’ overdose death.

Florida State Statute 782.04 was amended in 2017, allowing drug dealers to be charged with murder if their drug dealing results in a death.

DeAngelis’ parents said they feel better knowing Colon won’t be able to hurt anyone else.

The victim’s mother, Renee DeAngelis, said she hopes her daughter’s death opens the eyes of other parents.

“Don’t be afraid to be a parent. Don’t be afraid to investigate your children’s lives. Don’t be afraid to invade their privacy,” DeAngelis said shortly after her daughter’s death. “Because it’s better to save their life along the line than try too much to be their friend.”

VIDEO: Mother hopes daughter’s death opens eyes of other parents

The mother said her daughter was an organ donor and, after she died, was able to save five lives with the organs she donated.