LANCASTER, PA — An East Petersburg man previously convicted of drug delivery resulting in death and criminal conspiracy was sentenced to 7 to 20 years in state prison Wednesday by Lancaster County Judge Jeffery Wright, announced Lancaster County District Attorney Heather Adams.
Jeremy J. Morant, 31 of the 2600 block of Northfield Drive, was found guilty by a jury after a three-day trial in October for selling fentanyl that caused Brittany Zimmerman’s death on February 20, 2021, in a room at the Classic Inn on Lincoln Highway East. Zimmerman was 26 years old and resided in Manheim.
The defendant apologized to the victim’s and his own family and stated he dealt with addiction issues himself.
“Heroin and fentanyl are killing people in droves,” First Assistant District Attorney Todd Brown countered. “We can’t lose the fact a life was lost. A mother was lost. A daughter was lost.”
Judge Wright mentioned Morant’s nine previous drug convictions as motivation to start his sentence at 8 ½ years but gave the defendant a chance to show he could change his behavior when he let him spend the holiday with his family.
The judge stated the defendant followed all orders and showed up in timely fashion for his punishment Wednesday and decided to begin the sentence at 7 years, which was the lower end of the sentencing guidelines.
On February 20, 2021, East Lampeter Township Police responded to the hotel around 11:00 a.m. for the report of cardiac arrest. The Lancaster County Coroner’s Office pronounced the victim deceased at 12:23 p.m. after life-saving measures were taken. The cause of death was determined to be acute fentanyl toxicity.
According to testimony and evidence presented at trial, Morant was living at the nearby Econo Lodge hotel and arranged a fentanyl transaction with the victim there.
The defense argued that the fentanyl, which toxicology reports showed was approximately three times the lethal limit, could’ve been provided to the victim from someone other than Morant.
“There’s no evidence that Brittany received fentanyl from anyone but the defendant,” Brown said during trial. “The defendant agreed to deliver fentanyl to Brittany and ultimately that fentanyl killed her.”
The jury returned its guilty verdict after approximately 40 minutes of deliberation.
East Lampeter Township Police Detective Christopher Jones filed charges, testified, and attended the entirety of trial.
If you or someone you know needs help regarding drug addiction, visit the Lancaster County Drug and Alcohol Commission’s brochure which provides many resources.
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