MOUNT VERNON — A Burlington woman was sentenced Thursday to five years, eight months in prison for selling the drugs that killed a woman from the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community.
Michelle Martinez, 42, who pleaded guilty in May to one count of controlled substance homicide and two other felonies, was given the longest sentence possible under the standard sentencing range.
On May 10, 2018, Martinez sold what was supposedly Percocet pills to 40-year-old Ida C. Sylvester, who died en route to the hospital the next morning.
The pills sold by Martinez were determined to contain fentanyl, a synthetic opioid the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has determined to be 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine.
At her sentencing hearing, Sylvester’s father, Robert Joe, and cousin, Aurelia Washington, addressed the court.
“I think about my daughter constantly,” Joe said. “The pain that we’ve felt in the last year and a half is unbearable.”
Martinez’s actions caused irreparable damage to his family, he said.
“I can only hope justice will be served for our daughter, but it never will be for us,” Joe said.
Washington read to the court a letter from Kiley Egbers, Sylvester’s oldest daughter.
Egbers, who graduated high school two weeks after her mother’s death, wrote that Martinez’s actions turned what was supposed to be a day of celebration into a day of mourning.
“The day I walked across that stage, the one person I wanted to see in the stands wasn’t there,” she wrote.
She asked the court to deliver the maximum sentence possible.
“Today, I am writing this letter and it’s like ripping a bandage off my heart,” she wrote.
Washington said Sylvester started using drugs as a way to cope with immense emotional pain.
“We know it was her choice to use, but we know she wouldn’t want her life to end,” she said.
Martinez also spoke at her sentencing, saying she was sorry for what she did to Sylvester and her family.
“I’m truly sorry for what happened to her, and my heart goes out to her family,” she said.
Adam Yanasak, a public defender representing Martinez, said after sentencing that he has filed a motion for appeal.
Milagros Encarnacion, 56, who is also facing a charge of controlled substance homicide in Sylvester’s death, is scheduled to go to trial Oct. 7.