Charges were dismissed Thursday against a Gardnerville 20-year-old, accused of supplying a nearly lethal dose of heroin, until the teenager who smoked the drug is well enough to assist in the prosecution.
Assistant District Attorney Michael McCormick said two charges against Randy Isaacs were dismissed without prejudice in anticipation of refiling the case when David Philips, 17, has recovered sufficiently to testify against the defendant.
"We will prosecute Mr. Isaacs at some point," McCormick said.
He was charged with sales of a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance for sale.
Isaacs, who is out of Douglas County Jail on his own recognizance, was set for a preliminary hearing today in East Fork Justice Court to determine if there was enough evidence to continue with the prosecution.
"The defense has a right to a preliminary hearing," McCormick said. "The charges couldn't just sit in limbo unless both parties would have agreed, but that didn't happen."
Dismissing the charges bolsters the state's case, McCormick said, by waiting until Philips can testify. He is recuperating in a Texas hospital from complications stemming from the heroin overdose on Aug. 11.
"Time is on the side of the prosecution," McCormick said. "Mr. Isaacs has been released from jail on his own recognizance and no bail was posted. We have a witness who continues to make great progress in recovery. It behooves the state to wait a little bit of time."
McCormick said the state has three years to refile before the statute of limitations runs out.
According to court reports, paramedics found Philips unconscious in a Gardnerville home 16 hours after he allegedly smoked the heroin with three juvenile friends.
"I did meet with David's father and he is supportive of us doing whatever it takes to handle the prosecution successfully," McCormick said.
David Philips will not be prosecuted, McCormick said.
"David has gone through enough," he said. "What would be served by charging this boy whose life will be forever changed by his actions? Our main concern is that David get healthy to assist in the prosecution of Randy Isaacs."
McCormick said investigators would travel to Texas to interview Philips in a few weeks.
"We believe that David Philips set up the purchases of heroin from Isaacs," McCormick said. "Then he and several other juveniles smoked it and David lay down to sleep and suffered horrible consequences."
Philips spent two months in a coma in Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno before he was transferred to the Institute for Rehabilitation and Research in Houston.
"David can add a lot to the prosecution. When we take the case to jury trial, we want to make the best case we can. It's not in the state's best interest to rush to trial," McCormick said.
Isaacs completed an in-patient substance abuse treatment program and was released from Douglas County Jail on house arrest Nov. 7 after serving nearly two months in custody.
"The sheriff's office Street Enforcement Team will keep a close eye on Mr. Isaacs," McCormick said. "If he violates the laws, we'll be all over him."