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Stephen Andrew Walter, 49, was handed the sentence on Monday (May 16) after pleading guilty to a single charge of fentanyl distribution. Walter had previously agreed to a 17-year sentence as part of a plea deal last year, dropping the more serious charge of fentanyl distribution resulting in death.
However, the judge in the case, Otis D. Wright II, rejected the plea this week on the basis that Walter had continued to sell the oxycontin pills that led to Miller’s overdose after the rapper’s death.
It’s alleged that Walter supplied fentanyl-laced oxycontin pills to co-defendant Cameron James Pettit in September of 2018, which were run to Pettit by the pair’s other co-defendant, Ryan Michael Reavis.
The pills were then allegedly supplied to Miller, along with cocaine and Xanax. The rapper was found dead on September 7, aged 26, and his death was later ruled an accidental drug overdose due to a “mixed drug toxicity” of fentanyl, cocaine and alcohol.
Walter has repeatedly claimed he did not know that the pills he supplied to co-defendant Cameron James Pettit contained fentanyl. He also claimed that he did not learn of Miller’s death until his arrest. As Rolling Stone reports, he reiterated these claims when addressing the Los Angeles court this week, also apologising to Miller’s family.
“My actions caused a lot of pain, and for that I’m truly remorseful,” Walter said. “I’m not that type of person who wants to hurt anybody. That’s not me. But on the paperwork where it says that I continued to conduct in that kind of behaviour after I knew that there was death, that’s not the truth, Your Honour.”
Walter told the court that he had instructed Reavis to deliver the pills to Pettit believing that Pettit was planning to ingest the pills himself. “He never told me anything about [Miller]. He didn’t tell me he was going to deliver those pills to another person,” Walter said.
“I thought it was for him – for personal use. And then he delivered them to [Miller] with cocaine and Xanax, or whatever. I was not willing to do that and had no intent to do anything else other than [sell to] Cameron Pettit.
Two days later, when there was an overdose, Cameron never called me and told me about it, that he had anything to do with him. So I had no idea that somebody had passed. If I would have known, I would not have continued that type of behaviour.”
Pettit’s case is still pending. If convicted on conspiracy and drug distribution charges, Pettit – who pleaded not guilty in October of 2019 – faces a mandatory minimum of 20 years imprisonment, and the possibility of life without parole.
Last month, Reavis was sentenced to nearly 11 years in prison for his role in Miller’s death. Prior to his sentencing, an emotional statement was read out in court from Miller’s mother, Karen Meyers.
“My life went dark the moment Malcolm left this world,” she said. “Malcolm was my person, more than a son. We had a bond and kinship that was deep and special and irreplaceable. We spoke nearly every day about everything – his life, plans, music, dreams.
“He would never knowingly take a pill with fentanyl, ever. He wanted to live, and was excited about the future. The hole in my heart will always be there.”