Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn announces that 35-year-old Ashley M. Holmes of Kenmore was arraigned this morning before Erie County Court Judge Sheila A. DiTullio on an indictment charging her with one count of Criminally Negligent Homicide (Class “E” felony), one count of Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree and one count of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree (Class “B” felonies).
It is alleged that on Saturday, August 19, 2023, the defendant was arrested following an investigation into a fatal overdose that occurred on Linden Avenue in the City of Buffalo. The defendant is accused of knowingly and unlawfully selling a quantity of fentanyl-laced cocaine to the victim, 47-year-old Robert R. Chimera, which resulted in his death. During the investigation, a quantity of fentanyl-laced cocaine was found in the defendant’s bedroom at her residence in the Village of Kenmore.
Holmes is scheduled to return on Friday, February 9, 2024 at 10:00 a.m. for a pre-trial conference. She was held on bail set at $500,000 cash or bond.
If convicted of the highest count, Holmes faces a maximum sentence of 9 years in prison.
DA Flynn commends Detective Judy Walker and the Buffalo Police Department Homicide Squad and Narcotics Unit for their work in this investigation.
The case is being prosecuted by Chief Ryan D. Haggerty of the Narcotics/Intelligence Bureau.
This is the second opiate-related homicide case to be prosecuted under the leadership of District Attorney John Flynn. In November 2018, a Town of Tonawanda man pleaded guilty to Manslaughter in the Second Degree, the highest count in the indictment against him, for knowingly giving crushed opiate pills to an intoxicated female companion. The victim, who believed the substance was cocaine, died from an overdose. The defendant was sentenced to 1 1/3 to 4 years in prison.
“My office remains committed to addressing the rising number of opiate deaths and will continue to hold drug dealers accountable for their crimes. Anyone who sells a controlled substance that results in a fatal overdose will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. I encourage anyone who is struggling with substance abuse disorder to seek help as these addictive street drugs could be laced with a deadly amount of fentanyl,” said Erie County DA John Flynn.
As are all persons accused of a crime, the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
If you or someone you know is struggling with substance use disorder, help is available through the 24 Hour Addition Hotline at 716-831-7007.