FARMINGTON — Justice Michaela Murphy sentenced four people Tuesday for the morphine-induced death of Marilyn Rider, 52, at her home in Farmington last year.

She said Rider’s 11-year-old son will grow up without a mother and her death had an affect on the rest of her family. The boy was at a birthday party where morphine was injected into his mother’s arms at her request, and he had asked adults to take her to get medical attention, she said.

The Maine Medical Examiner’s Office ruled the death accidental and said it was caused by multiple chronic respiratory diseases. It also ruled that acute morphine exposure was a contributing factor. According to testimony, the morphine aggravated her respiratory illness and hastened her death, Murphy said.

Rider and defendants Eric Barnes, 28, of Skowhegan; Seth Gordon, 23, of Wilton and his father, Roy Gordon, 43, Rider’s boyfriend; attended a party at Roy Gordon’s parents’ house on Nov. 10, 2012, she said.

Murphy said all four had a deep-seeded addiction to opiates.

Barnes and the Gordons previously pleaded guilty to felony charges of furnishing morphine. The Gordons also pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of violating conditions of release while out on bail. Barnes pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of falsifying physical evidence.


Murphy sentenced Barnes to 40 months in prison with all but 15 months suspended and two years of probation on the felony. She also sentenced him to 60 days on the misdemeanor to run concurrently with the stiffer sentence. He was ordered to take his medication for his mental illness and medication that dulls the craving for opiates.

She sentenced Seth Gordon to four years with all but two years suspended and two years of probation with 60 days on the violation charge to run concurrently.

Roy Gordon was sentenced to five years with all but two years suspended and two years of probation on the felony and 90 days on a violation conviction to run concurrently with the felony charge.

They were each ordered to pay a $400 fine and victim fees.

She sentenced Terry Oliver, 54, of Wilton, who pleaded guilty to a more serious felony charge than the others for selling morphine. Oliver admitted she sold 20 morphine pills to the defendants on the day of the party.

Murphy sentenced her to seven years with all but two suspended and two years of probation. She also ordered her to pay a $2,500 fine for making money on the drugs that were tax-free.


Murphy ordered all four to have conditions upon release that require that pharmacies, medical professionals and police be notified of the drugs they are prescribed and what pharmacy they use.

She also told defense attorneys about substance abuse programs at each of the prisons their clients could try to get into.

Prior to sentencing, Murphy reviewed the case and said Oliver admitted to police that she had sold half of her 112 morphine pill prescription each month since January 2012. Murphy said she did not believe Oliver had a drug addiction and in fact was only taking half of her prescription for back pain.

Rider had a history of a stroke, a heart attack and chronic respiratory diseases, some of which were self-inflicted and some brought on by age, Murphy said.

By witness testimony, police reports and co-defendants admission it was determined that Rider was unwilling to seek medical attention and requested multiple doses of morphine be injected during the party, she said.

Rider had been injected with morphine between two and five times over 60 to 90 minutes, she said. The party began at noon and ended at 10 p.m. It was determined Rider’s last dose was at 8 p.m., she said. She had been nodding off during that period.


Roy Gordon told police that Rider was so ill that he and his father had to carry her to the car after the party and had to carry her into her home at 103 Silver Maple Lane. Roy Gordon said he had tried to get her medical treatment but she declined. It is believed she died at her home between 1 and 9:30 a.m. Nov. 11, 2012, Murphy said.

When Roy Gordon went to wake Rider that morning he did not call 911. Instead, he and Barnes cleaned up all of the needles and drugs and then reported the death, she said.

The court listened to arguments on sentences from Assistant District Attorney James Andrews and defense attorneys Jason Bulay, Thomas Carey, Walter Hanstein and David Sanders. The state requested that portions of sentences be suspended, with each defendant serving two years in prison and two years of probation.

Defense attorneys argued for less time in prison or for time already served for various reasons, including mental health and substance abuse treatment already completed.

Each has already served some time in jail, ranging from five months to nearly 10 months.

All defendants facing sentencing told the family they were sorry and expressed remorse for what had happened.

Family members acknowledged Monday that Rider was an addict but didn’t deserve to die. They asked that the defendants at the party receive the maximum sentence allowed.

A fifth co-defendant, Scott Kidder, 32, of Wilton who also bought morphine pills from Oliver on the day of the party, previously pleaded guilty in March to furnishing morphine. He received a three-year suspended sentence and two years of probation that was to run consecutive with a two-year sentence he was currently serving on another conviction.

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