Man admits his role in drug death

EVERETT — A Puyallup man who sold drugs to a teenager admitted responsibility Friday for the New Year’s Day overdose death of a high school girl in Edmonds.

David Michael Morris, 20, pleaded guilty to the seldom-used charge of controlled substance homicide after making the drug Ecstasy available to Danielle McCarthy, 16, also of Puyallup.

He could serve up to five years in prison when he’s sentenced on Feb. 21.

Morris will apply for a special sentence for drug offenders. If he is accepted and Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Ellen Fair agrees, he could wind up spending half that time in prison and the remainder undergoing drug therapy outside of jail.

Morris also will have to testify in the trial of a co-defendant, Donalydia Huertas, 18, who is charged with controlled substance homicide and first-degree manslaughter in Danielle’s death.

Huertas is expected to go on trial in late January or early February, deputy prosecutor Colleen St. Clair said.

Controlled substance homicide has been on the books for years, but it is seldom charged, often because it is difficult to trace the source of drugs in fatal overdose cases, prosecutors said.

According to court documents, Morris, Huertas and Danielle were among a group of young people who attended a New Year’s party in Edmonds. St. Clair alleged that Morris sold Ecstasy to Huertas, who in turn gave the drug to Danielle.

Documents said Danielle became ill about 1 a.m. on Jan. 1. Huertas repeatedly refused to let others get help for the younger girl, documents say.

During the next eight hours, Danielle vomited, became unable to walk, lost consciousness and went into a seizure, documents said. According to court papers, Huertas and Morris at one point put McCarthy in a warm bath and splashed water in her face.

She was taken to Stevens Hospital in Edmonds around 9:45 a.m., where she was pronounced dead. The Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s O ffice said Danielle died from acute Ecstasy intoxication.

Reporter Jim Haley: 425-339-3447 or

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