BENNINGTON — A Bennington man is facing up to life in prison on charges that the fentanyl-laced heroin he sold a 22-year-old woman led to her overdose death on Monday.
Christopher Main, who turns 59 later this month, pleaded not guilty to charges of dispensing heroin-death resulting, heroin-trafficking, and cocaine possession at his arraignment on Tuesday, according to Bennington Superior criminal court records.
Main is alleged to have sold drugs that led to the death of Amel Allen, 22, of Beaudoin Lane, on Monday afternoon. According to her grandmother, Mary Beaudoin, Allen had twice attended residential recovery centers to address her addiction, the second stint having ended just a few weeks ago.
According to a police affidavit, Beaudoin called first responders to the family home on Beaudoin Lane on Monday afternoon, reporting that her granddaughter was lying on the bathroom floor, unresponsive.
First responders worked on Allen for 30 minutes, but were unable to revive her, according to the affidavit filed in Bennington Superior Court.
While Allen’s family and friends struggle to make sense of her death, Main faces a penalty of up to and including life, as he is being charged as a habitual offender, having been charged and convicted of three felonies. Those are dispensal/delivery of a regulated drug in 1987 in Vermont; robbery, in 1998 in New York; and conspiracy to distribute controlled substances in 2005 by the U.S. Department of Justice. He is due back in Bennington Superior criminal court on Wednesday at 2 p.m.
In the sworn affidavit, filed by Bennington Police Detective Corey Briggs, police responded to a 911 call from a Beaudoin Lane residence at about 1:24 pm. on Labor Day. They were advised that a 22-year-old woman had apparently overdosed and been found on the bathroom floor.
Briggs said he arrived on the scene at 3 p.m. and, next to Allen, found a hypodermic needle, a silver spoon with white residue, and a glassine package with a blue stamp marked “900K.”
In the affidavit, Briggs said Mary Beaudoin told her that on Monday morning, Allen had asked her for money, which she did not give her, and for a ride to a home on Burgess Road to gather clothes from a friend. Beaudoin said at 1 p.m. Monday, she had gone to check on her granddaughter and found her lying on the bathroom floor and shook her to wake her up. She then went to check on the other grandchildren she was watching, and returned 15 minutes later to find the bathroom door locked, and no response from inside.
“We were going to have an intervention. That was our next step,” Beaudoin said. “She came right home and was thrown back into the community.”
Police were given permission by Allen’s mother and grandmother to investigate Allen’s phone. It included Facebook Messenger conversations between Allen and two other women who arranged to purchase drugs on Allen’s behalf from a fourth woman.
The conversation also indicated that a man named Christopher helped the woman sell drugs. “It is known to this officer and the Bennington Police Department that Christopher Main ... resides at 69 Burgess Road,” Briggs’ affidavit said, adding that he was known to have been released from federal probation in March on a federal drug charge.
A warrant executed at 69 Burgess Road at 11:38 p.m. Monday resulted in the seizure of three more glassine packages with a blue “900K” stamp. In total, the warrant produced 5.99 grams of heroin, as well as 4.7 grams of cocaine, digital scales and drug paraphernalia.
Briggs later said that the fourth woman, having been read her Miranda rights, said she had been living at 69 Burgess Road for a month. She acknowledged having spoken with Allen by messenger, and that Main sold Allen 10 packages of heroin for between $80 and $100.
“[The woman] said that she was in the bedroom and bathroom areas and knew what was happening,” Brigs said in the affidavit. “[The woman] said that she never sold to anyone.”
Main, who was also read his Miranda rights, said he did not know Allen and that he only heard of her from [the woman]. He said her story was not true and that he did not sell Allen drugs, and then asked to speak with a lawyer.
Allen was Mary Beaudoin’s eldest granddaughter, and she posted a poem on Allen’s Facebook page, written three weeks ago, about how proud her “Nina” was of her newly won sobriety, and how she felt the sun, missing earlier from her life, had returned. As of press time Friday, it had 253 reactions and 89 comments expressing sympathy for Allen’s passing and memories of her kindness.
“She’d lost three or four friends” to drugs already, Beaudoin said. “It’s a disease is what it is. I can’t describe what it does to the family members. We’d wait for her to come home. We’d wait for the phone call. We’d wait for her to nod out. We all carry Narcan with us. “
“It was devastating. It was horrible. We’re still suffering from the loss,” said Beaudoin, who added she’s trying to be strong for her daughter, Allen’s mother, Elizabeth Beaudoin.
But Beaudoin has also heard from many people she doesn’t know expressing sorrow for her loss — including the friends Allen made at her most recent rehab facility.
A celebration of Allen’s life will be held later, Mary Beaudoin said.