Sheriff William R. Barker has released information regarding the sentencing of a New Lexington man who had pled guilty to involuntary manslaughter and drug trafficking charges in connection with the drug-related death of a Somerset, Ohio woman. On Oct. 27, according to a news release from the sheriff's office, Dustin L. Groff, 30, was sentenced by Perry County Common Pleas Court Judge Tina Boyer to nine years and 11 months in prison after Groff had entered a plea to the charges.
On May 4, 2017 county sheriff’s deputies had been dispatched to a Township Road 124 address in Somerset, regarding an unresponsive female. When they arrived, they found 35-year-old Megan Lyons unresponsive in the bathroom of the residence. Deputies performed-life saving measures on Lyons until Somerset-Reading EMS arrived on scene and transported her to the Fairfield Medical Center where she died two days later. The Fairfield and Perry County coroner’s offices later confirmed that Lyons had died of a Fentanyl overdose.
The fatal overdose case was then investigated by agents with the Central Ohio Drug Enforcement Task Force (CODE TF) and the Perry County prosecutor’s office who were able to identify two subjects who had provided the lethal doses of Fentanyl that resulted in Lyons' death.
Agents learned that Lyons had gone to the New Lexington residence of 27-year-old Stephanie Groff on May 4, 2017 to attempt to purchase heroin. According to the sheriff's release Stephanie Groff contacted her nephew, Dustin Groff, and brokered the deal between Lyons and Dustin.
Dustin then reportedly came to Stephanie’s residence and sold Lyons Fentanyl instead of heroin while Stephanie’s minor children were present. Stephanie later drove Megan back to her residence where Megan injected the Fentanyl in the bathroom of the residence which ultimately resulted in her overdose and subsequent death. In the days following her death, Task Force Agents would later learn that Dustin Groff had conducted internet searches relating to fentanyl overdoses, and the legal charges in Ohio applying to manslaughter and corrupting another with drugs. These searches were conducted prior to Dustin Groff being identified by law enforcement as a suspect in Lyons’ death.
Dustin Groff along with his aunt Stephanie Groff were indicted by a Perry County Grand Jury. Stephanie Groff later pled guilty to reduced charges of drug trafficking and corrupting another with drugs, in exchange for her testimony in the case pending against Dustin Groff.
While Dustin’s case was pending, he learned that Stephanie was planning to testify against him and made attempts to intimidate her to prevent her from testifying. Hewas charged and subsequently convicted in Muskingum County of attempted witness intimidation, for which he served 12 months in prison.
Dustin Groff’s attorney argued on his behalf that the Court should sentence him to community control, but Perry County Common Pleas Court Judge Tina Boyer cited the court’s obligation to protect the public and to punish the defendant, and sentenced Groff to 11 months on the trafficking charges and nine years on the involuntary manslaughter charge with the prison terms to run consecutively. As of Tuesday Dustin Groff remained in the Southeast Ohio Regional Jail, awaiting custody transfer to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.
The Perry County Sheriff’s Office and the Central Ohio Drug Enforcement Task Force has indicated they would like to thank all who assisted in the investigation and prosecution of this case. They also send their condolences to the Lyons’ family for Megan’s loss.