Release in works for woman charged with sister's overdose death

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BENNINGTON — A woman who faces a charge of manslaughter for allegedly supplying the heroin that caused her sister's death is still being held without bail, but would be released with conditions pending her trial in an offer from prosecutors.

Emily Welch, 28, of Bennington, is accused of providing the heroin that caused the death of her sister; Kristin Long was 35 on the day she died, Dec. 13.

Deputy State's Attorney Robert Plunkett, in a weight of evidence hearing for Welch on Thursday, outlined an offer in which Welch would be screened for the Windham County Sheriff's Office electronic monitoring program. Assuming Welch is accepted into the program, the state would request $100,000 suspended cash bail upon her release.

The program provides 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week electronic monitoring, supervision and immediate response. Speaking of the program, Plunkett said it "seemed to be the best method to guarantee her appearance and protect the public." Plunkett also noted that, under Vermont statute, a bail review hearing would be required in another 16 days.

Attorney Robert L. Sussman, who represents Welch, said the 44 days in jail has not been easy for her.

"Her family is offering to support her in this process," he said.

Sussman said the monitoring program presents an opportunity for his client to enroll in an inpatient treatment center or attend a daytime outpatient addiction treatment program.

Welch pleaded not guilty on Feb. 2 to a felony count of selling heroin with death resulting. In a separate case, she pleaded not guilty to a felony count of selling heroin, one felony count of possession of heroin and one misdemeanor count of providing false information to police.

A felony count of manslaughter was added to her charges on Feb. 7.

Two other individuals have been arraigned on charges related to the overdose death.

Richard W. Muir III, 40, of North Pownal, pleaded not guilty on Feb. 6 to a felony count of accessory after the fact. He was released on $10,000 bail.

Tianna K. Fronsman, 28, of Wilmington, pleaded not guilty on March 8 to a felony charge of manslaughter, and felony counts of selling or dispensing a regulated drug with death resulting, the sale of heroin, the possession of heroin and trafficking heroin into the state.

Fronsman is being held without bail. Both Muir and Fronsman will return to court on March 21.

Reach staff writer Edward Damon at 802-447-7567, ext. 111 or @edamon_banner.

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