A motion to reduce the $200,000 bond of a New York woman indicted in July in the fentanyl drug death of a Cumberland County woman was denied during a hearing in Criminal Court Sept. 1.
Diana Grosso, Otisville, NY, spent her 60th birthday in the Cumberland County Jail after efforts to reduce the bond holding failed.
Grosso was served a sealed indictment July 13 charging second-degree murder in the drug related death of Julia Meade, 59, who died in her Arrowhead Dr., Lake Tansi home in July 2018.
Assistant District Attorney Philip Hatch relied on one witness during the hearing — Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Billy Miller — while defense attorneys Stephanie Johnson (Sparta) and Jeremy Trapp (Smithville) called no witnesses. The defense attorneys relied on the written and oral arguments to seek a bond reduction.
Miller testified that during his investigation, Meade’s husband, Mitchell Meade, pointed to Grosso as the person who sold cocaine laced with fentanyl to his wife.
Miller said his investigation led to several phone calls between and a trip to New York to interview Grosso. This was after Mitchell Meade told investigators that he and his wife traveled to New York for the purpose of purchasing an “eight ball” of cocaine.
An 8 ball is one-eighth of an ounce of a drug, usually cocaine.
Miller testified that a preliminary autopsy report given to him states that Julia Meade died from “accute fentanyl toxicimity.”
Under cross examination from Johnson, Miller agreed the preliminary report also included the words, “accidental overdose.” He also agreed that Meade was an “insulin-dependant diabetic.”
Miller also testified that Mitchell Meade was awakened by his wife’s insulin alarm sounding and found her dead at the kitchen table.
Under Johnson’s questioning, Miller agreed that Grosso was cooperative throughout the investigation but thought the blame should be put on the person who supplied her with the drug.
Hatch argued before the judge that Grosso was facing a 100 percent sentence on an A felony if convicted, has no job and no ties to Cumberland County. Therefore, he reasoned, the bond was appropriate.
Johnson countered that no one really knows what the substance was the victim ingested and that created a hole in the state’s case. She added that Grosso had been under investigation for more than a year and remained cooperative with no effort to flee. She said a $50,000 bond would be appropriate.
McKenzie said there has been a growing number of fentanyl related deaths in the area and considering the seriousness of the the offense and amount of evidence the state has, he was ruling the bond was appropriate.
He then denied a reduction in bond and set Nov. 10 as a tracking date for the case, urging motions be filed by that day.