Ashland man who bought whiskey for teen sentenced

A man who supplied whiskey to a teen found dead in Ashland Creek on June 7 has been sentenced to 10 months in jail and a $1,000 fine after pleading guilty Friday in Jackson County Circuit Court to a single count of furnishing alcohol to a minor.

Richard "Tricky" Nolan Currier, 33, a transient with a history of buying booze for underage kids, bought a half-gallon of whiskey for 16-year-old Samuel Hayes, said Jackson County Chief Deputy District Attorney Beth Heckert.

"This case is a very sad situation," Heckert said, adding Currier has prior furnishing charges from 2008 and 2009.

Hayes paid Currier to purchase alcohol after attending Ashland High School's graduation ceremony on June 3. Hayes was found dead in the creek near downtown a few days later. Forensic testing would reveal Hayes had a blood alcohol content of .27, Heckert said.

Heckert had asked Judge Timothy Gerking for a sentence of one year in prison with no early release, saying Hayes' father had asked for the maximum allowable penalty for the misdemeanor charge.

Currier is filled with remorse over the death of the Ashland High School sophomore, said Don Scales, Currier's public defender. He asked the judge for a six-month sentence and supervised probation for his client.

"He is deeply remorseful," Scales said. "He lives with this every day."

But Scales urged to court to consider the fact that Currier did not force or encourage Hayes to drink. He simply responded to a requests from Hayes, Scales said.

"He didn't throw a party and say 'come over to my place and drink.' (Currier) himself battles with his own severe alcoholism," Scales said, adding his client has lived under bridges and "lives a typical lifestyle of a transient."

Gerking said Currier knew Hayes was underage, and that supplying alcohol to minors could result in irresponsible conduct or worse.

"Obviously this is a tragedy of the highest magnitude," Gerking said. "This is one of the reasons why we have statutes that regulate the age of alcohol consumption."

— Sanne Specht

Share This Story