Fayette County

Lexington man convicted of selling fatal dose of fentanyl; faces life term

A Lexington man faces a possible life sentence after being convicted of selling a fatal dose of the painkiller fentanyl.

A jury in federal court convicted Joshua Donald Ewing, 28, on Thursday of distributing a controlled substance resulting in a death, according to U.S. Attorney Kerry B. Harvey.

Ewing is to be sentenced in February by U.S. District Judge Joseph M. Hood.

Evidence at the trial showed that Ewing sold fentanyl to Jeremy Deaton, 37, who died after taking the drug.

Deaton thought Ewing was selling him heroin, according to a news release from Harvey.

Fentanyl is far more powerful than heroin. Kentucky has seen a spike in fentanyl overdoses, many involving people who thought they were getting heroin.

Ewing faces a possible life sentence because he was convicted in Fayette County in January of possession of heroin and was placed on probation for four years.

Ewing sold Deaton the fatal dose of fentanyl the next month.

“The drug dealers who sell heroin and fentanyl in our communities know full well that, sooner or later, the result of their criminal conduct is likely a tragic and unnecessary death,” Harvey said. “Overdose victims are not merely statistics. They leave behind grieving parents, siblings, and children who deserve justice.”