Wash. high court tosses drug homicide conviction

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - Washington's Supreme Court has unanimously thrown out an Elma woman's conviction for controlled substances homicide due to a defect in the charging papers filed against her.

Brenda Zillyette was charged after investigators in Grays Harbor County discovered she had provided the Xanax and methadone that caused the overdose death of 18-year-old Austin Burrows in 2009. However, in charging papers prosecutors didn't specify what category of controlled substances or what specific drugs she was accused of providing.

Because only certain drugs can support a charge of controlled substances homicide, the high court found that in effect, the charging papers didn't necessarily accuse her of committing a crime. For that reason, on Thursday they overturned the trial court that convicted her and the state appeals court panel that upheld the conviction.

The justices dismissed the charge against Zillyette, who had been serving a four-and-a-half year sentence.


(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Top Stories

  • Placing Blame
    Jason Rantz says it's the Seattle DOT that's to blame for our awful commutes

  • Spider Season
    Just in time for Halloween, western Washington spider season in full effect

  • Seattle Drivers
    10 reasons we know you're a Seattle driver
ATTENTION COMMENTERS: We've changed our comments, but want to keep you in the conversation.
Please login below with your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Disqus account. Existing MyNorthwest account holders will need to create a new Disqus account or use one of the social logins provided below. Thank you.
comments powered by Disqus
Sign up for breaking news e-mail alerts from MyNorthwest.com
In the community
Do you know an exceptional citizen who has impacted and inspired others?
KIRO Radio and WSECU would like to recognize six oustanding citizens this year. Nominate them to be recognized and to receive a $2,000 charitable grant.