A Winchester man who provided the heroin that caused another man to die in 2012 was sentenced Monday to 20 years in federal prison.
Harold Wayne Salyers could have faced more than 24 years in prison, U.S. District Judge Joseph Hood said during a sentencing hearing in federal court in Lexington.
Hood imposed the minimum sentence in the case — 240 months — and recommended that Salyers serve the term at the Federal Medical Center in Lexington.
Salyers' attorney, Pam Ledgewood, said she intends to appeal the conviction to the 6th U.S Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati.
Federal authorities charged Salyers last June with causing the death of Wade Dickerson of Clark County, who died in August 2012 after using heroin that Salyers provided.
A federal jury found Salyers guilty in October 2013 on four counts: causing a death by illegally distributing heroin; conspiracy to distribute heroin; distributing heroin; and possession of heroin with intent to distribute it.
Federal prosecutors said the case is the first to go to trial in the Eastern District of Kentucky under the "distribution of controlled substance resulting in death" statute.
Salyers, 53, told Hood that he "was sorry for everything that happened," and that "things went out of hand" in his personal life over the past few years.
Ledgewood also said her client's life had "spiraled out of control" in recent years.
Salyers told Hood that he tried heroin only twice. The judge replied that Salyers had sold the drug or had given it away.
Hood also cited court testimony that Salyers had provided heroin to women in exchange for sex, and that Salyers provided heroin to Dickerson shortly before he died of an overdose.
Salyers' actions caused "lots of pain" for his own family and for Dickerson's family, the judge said.
"All of this could have been avoided if you had not been involved with heroin," Hood said.
Hood sentenced Salyers to 240 months on each of the four counts but directed that the terms run concurrently.
Salyers will be on supervised release for five years after getting out of prison, Hood said.