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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Florida

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Two Jacksonville Men Sentenced For Their Roles In The Overdose Death Of A 22-Year Old Jacksonville Woman

Jacksonville, Florida – United States District Judge Marcia Morales Howard has sentenced Joshua Paul Smith (28, Jacksonville) and Otis Thomas (26, Jacksonville) to 30 years, and 6 years and 8 months, respectively, in federal prison, for their actions leading to the overdose death a 22-year-old Jacksonville woman.  The court also ordered Smith to pay $24,187.83 in restitution to the victim’s family. Smith and Thomas had previously pleaded guilty for their roles in the case.         

According to court documents and evidence submitted during the sentencing hearings, on the evening of July 10, 2015, the 22-year-old victim and another female traveled to Smith’s home to purchase and use heroin. While there, Smith provided the victim and the other woman with heroin and crack cocaine. Smith provided the victim with repeated access to heroin and cocaine throughout the evening and into the early morning hours of the following day.

The victim went to sleep early in the morning on July 11, 2015, and never woke up. According to the medical examiner, the victim died sometime in the morning hours of July 11. She had overdosed and died in her sleep due to the ingested heroin and cocaine.

At approximately 1:00 pm on July 11, Smith and Thomas found the victim dead in the loft of Smith’s home. After Thomas left the home, Smith and another individual decided to remove the victim’s body. In the early morning hours of July 12, Smith, the other female, and another individual used bi-fold closet doors to slide the victim’s body down the stairs from the loft. They then loaded her body into the back seat of a vehicle. The victim’s car was moved to another location in an effort to cover up the crime.

At approximately 3:00 am on July 12, the three individuals drove the victim’s body to a golf course in Jacksonville and dumped it near a tee box in an effort to make it appear that she had overdosed and died on the golf course. At approximately 7:00 am, a jogger saw the woman’s body and alerted authorities. 

This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Tysen Duva and Beatriz Gonzalez.

Updated December 19, 2018