Man sentenced to four years in GHB overdose

JOSHUA TREE, Calif. - A judge has sentenced a man to four years in prison for supplying the designer drug GHB to a teen-ager who died of an overdose.

Judge James McGuire said Friday that Lindley Troy Geborde, 30, must serve his sentence, the maximum allowed under the law, after he completes his current 41-month sentence on a federal drug-related conviction.

Geborde was convicted Wednesday of involuntary manslaughter for giving the drug to Lucas Bielat, 15, at a desert rave party and not warning him of the dangers.

San Bernardino County prosecutors had sought a second-degree murder conviction against Geborde.

Although three men in Michigan were convicted of manslaughter earlier this year in connection with the death of a girl whose drink was laced with GHB, the California case marked the first time someone was tried for implied malice for supplying someone with the drug.

Deputy District Attorney David W. Simon said he was disappointed with the verdict because he believed he proved the elements of murder.

Defense attorney Frank Peasley argued that Geborde was not guilty of murder and that the dangers of GHB have been overblown.

Bielat died Jan 13, 1996, after drinking gamma hydroxybutrate or GHB, a drug with effects that users say are similar to liquor without the hangover. It's also known as a date rape drug because it can be slipped into beverages undetected and leave people vulnerable to sexual assault.

Investigators suspect Geborde was responsible for introducing GHB in Joshua Tree, a community of 8,600 people about 100 miles east of Los Angeles.

Although Geborde had reportedly warned revelers at previous parties to take the drug only in small doses, witnesses said he never warned Bielat.

Witnesses said the youth chugged the drink and then passed out. Hours later, they say Bielat turned blue and his feet began to curl from the cold.

AP-WS-12-23-00 1825EST


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