, Salem, MA

Local News

November 27, 2012

Trial starts in 'ugly' OD case

Prosecutor says man dumped two women on street, 'like a bag of trash'

DANVERS — It is, as John Coyne’s own lawyer acknowledged, an “ugly” case.

Four young people, at least three of them addicted to heroin, had spent the afternoon of Feb. 28, 2011, searching for the drug, traveling from Danvers to Quincy and then back to Danvers again, where, prosecutors allege, they scored four bags from a dealer in a trailer park.

Within moments, two young women were unconscious from overdoses. Coyne, 24, and his friend Roberto Vasquez, 25, left them on the street, “like a bag of trash,” where one of them was then run over by a driver on his way home from work, prosecutor Jane Prince told a Newburyport Superior Court jury yesterday.

Coyne is facing charges of assault and battery causing serious bodily injury, for allegedly wantonly and recklessly leaving one woman in the middle of the street at the corner of Hyde and Irving, and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, the heroin the other woman allegedly asked him to inject into her that day.

“This case is about the reckless disregard that Mr. Coyne had” for the women, Prince told the jury in her opening statement.

One young woman was left in a snowbank, the other in the middle of the street, the prosecutor said.

Coyne denies injecting the woman with heroin. And defense lawyer Michael Natola told jurors that no one can say for certain how they got out of the car that day.

Prince suggests that the evidence is clear: Coyne and Vasquez had to have put them out, after both young women became unconscious almost immediately after taking the heroin. Vasquez pleaded guilty to being an accessory to the crime in September and is serving a one-year prison sentence.

Prince points to a witness, the driver who struck the woman lying in the road, who described both of them as looking “lifeless.”

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