In Anne Arundel Co.’s 1st drug-related manslaughter conviction, man found guilty in teen’s overdose death

A man has been found guilty in connection with the drug overdose death of a 16-year-old in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. The conviction marks the first time in county history that someone has been convicted of manslaughter for dealing drugs.

Jason Baker of Millersville, 46, was found guilty Wednesday of charges including involuntary manslaughter, distribution of fentanyl and reckless endangerment relating to the death of Josiah Klaes of Glen Burnie.

In January of last year, Anne Arundel County Police were called to Kramer Court in Glen Burnie where they found Klaes in cardiac arrest. Attempts to revive him failed, and the chief medical examiner’s office found that he died as a direct result of fentanyl intoxication.

On Klaes’ cellphone, police found numerous text messages between him and Baker about drug deals. In one message, Baker asked Klaes his age. The teen texted back that he was 16, and shared his weight and height too.

Investigators determined that Baker sold Klaes fentanyl instead of heroin, leading to Klaes’ overdose.

“Mr. Baker sold drugs he knew were potentially lethal, going so far as to take into account the victim’s age, height and weight before doing so. The defendant’s greed and his lack of humanity in selling deadly drugs to a teenager is beyond disturbing,” said Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney Anne Colt Leitess. “Josiah’s family has suffered a devastating loss, and I am grateful that the jury recognized that the defendant’s actions led to the victim’s death and held him accountable.”

Baker faces a maximum sentence of 35 years. His sentencing is set for Feb. 13, 2020.

Michelle Basch

Michelle Basch is a reporter turned morning anchor at WTOP News.

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