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Prostitute Cleared Of Life Felony In Customer’s Death

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ROCHESTER (WWJ/AP) - A prostitute no longer faces a life felony for supplying heroin to a customer who died while having sex with her.

Oakland County prosecutors dropped a charge of drug delivery causing death against 28-year-old Natasha Vanwasshenova. She is scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday on a reduced charge of delivery of a controlled substance and could walk free after 14 months in jail.

The original charge carried a maximum sentence of life in prison. Her lawyer said he plans to ask Judge Leo Bowman on Tuesday to sentence Vanwasshenova to time served.

Vanwasshenova allegedly worked for a Dearborn-based escort service for about a  year to support her four children. According to authorities, a 38-year-old man hired Vanwasshenova on Nov. 23, 2010, to come to his home in the Detroit suburb of Rochester. He asked her to bring heroin, and she bought $80 worth, according to court records.

The man used the heroin and drank alcohol, then sat in a hot tub with her for 30 minutes, records say. They were engaged in a sex act when he collapsed. Vanwasshenova called 911 and tried to resuscitate him until an emergency crew arrived, according to the Detroit Free Press.

“She made mistakes and she knows that,” said her court-appointed defense lawyer, Charles Toby. “But she could have left the scene and nobody would have known, but she stayed there until help arrived.”

Instead, authorities charged her with a life felony.

Toby said he was skeptical of the severity of the charge, especially because the dead man had an enlarged heart and significant blockage in an artery.

“This was not a lot of heroin,” Toby said. “And his heart was almost double the size of a normal heart. Then you have the hot tub, the shower and the sex all contributing.”

Toby hired cardiologist Kirit Patel to review the autopsy, and Patel disagreed with the medical examiner’s findings.

“I am not convinced that his death was primarily from overdose of heroin,” wrote Patel, chief of cardiology at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital.

Oakland County Medical Examiner Ljubisa Dragovic said his office amended the autopsy.

“We keep things right, when there is a wrong we right it,” Dragovic said.

The Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office then reduced the charge to delivery of a controlled substance. Vanwasshenova pleaded guilty to that charge.

“We are always willing to re-evaluate a case when presented with additional evidence,” said chief Assistant Prosecutor Paul Walton.

TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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