Teen gets exceptional sentence in overdose death

Teen gets exceptional sentence in overdose death »Play Video
Donalydia Huertas
KING COUNTY, Wash. -- A crying teenager convicted in the overdose death of her friend was given a sentence almost no one expected.

Donalydia Huertas, of Puyallup, was convicted of providing drugs to a younger friend, 16-year-old Danielle McCarthy, at a New Year's Eve party in 2007. When McCarthy later became ill from Ecstasy to the point of having seizures, Huertas never called for help and never dialed 911.

McCarthy eventually was taken to Stevens Hospital in Edmonds, Wash., where she was pronounced dead on Jan. 1, 2007.

In court on Monday, the 19 year old, who refused to plead guilty, cried and apologized.

"Looking back to that night is painful," she said. "I can't imagine how hard it is for Danielle's family. And if I could take that night back, I would in a heartbeat."

But McCarthy's family members remained unconvinced, saying their loved one also cried. Prosecutors said McCarthy suffered for eight hours, slipping in and out of unconsciousness, losing bladder control and convulsing.

"Danielle told Dona, 'Please don't let me die.' My sister was denied all she asked for. Instead she had to die all night long," said the victim's sister, Destiny McCarthy.

Danielle's father showed the judge a picture of her urn.

"This is who my daughter is today," said Patrick McCarthy. "That is my daughter. This is what I give kissed to. I don't get hugs from this. This is a cold, wooden box."

A jury convicted Huertas of homicide by controlled substance and manslaughter. She was convicted as an adult, but sentenced as a juvenile.

According to standard sentencing guidelines, she faced just 30 days in juvenile detention.

"Thirty days doesn't make sense; it doesn't come close," Patrick said.

Judge Ellen Fair agreed, and sentenced Huertas, who just turned 19 on Aug. 14, to remain in juvenile detention until she turns 21.

"She acted with a shocking lack of judgment over lengthy period of time. As I said in the other hearing, Ms. Huertas acted as an immature, self-absorbed teenager," she said.

A Puyallup man who admitted to supplying the drugs that killed Danielle was sentenced to more than two years in prison. David Morris, 21, pleaded guilty to controlled substance homicide, a felony, in her death. Prosecutors said Huertas bought four tablets of Ecstasy and gave two of them to McCarthy.