ONSLOW COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — One family is finally getting a piece of closure after waiting four years. In 2016, an Onslow County man was found dead at his home after overdosing on fentanyl.
The man charged with distributing the drugs was sentenced to seven years in prison last week.
In 2016, Jason “Wes” Sapp overdosed on what was determined to be fentanyl, just one day after is friend, Matthew Eyster also overdosed.
“Seven years for what we lost, it doesn’t compare,” Wes’s mother Vaness Sapp said. “But that’s seven years that man will not be on the street preying on other children.”
Donte Kornegay, 45, was sentenced in prison on August 12. He was convicted of distribution of fentanyl and conspiracy to distribute heron and fentanyl.
“There is a little bit of closure,” Sapp said. “I don’t think it’s hit me quite yet that, that was it. The final piece.”
The final piece, Sapp says, in getting justice for her son. She says they were shocked when they got the news of his death that morning in 2016, and didn’t see it coming.
“We didn’t even have a chance to save him,” she said. “We just didn’t know.”
Sapp says Wes got the drugs from his friend, Jarred Eddington. In 2018, Eddington pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and distributing heroin, and is now serving eight years in prison.
“It was hard to go through that process because you wanted him to have some responsibility in it,” Sapp said. “At the same time, he was an addict, and you have a heart for that and an understanding on that side. I feel though, he was more of a man than the dealer ever was.”
Since Kornegay was charged and convicted, the penalties have been raised for drug dealers involved in overdose deaths.
“He was in it for profit,” Sapp said. “He wasn’t an addict. He was a man my age who preyed on children, and has been in the criminal system since he was 17. So his sentencing hurt a little bit. But it is what it is.”
Sapp faced Kornegay virtually at the sentencing hearing last week, speaking on behalf of her son.
“And I got to look at him and say what I wanted to say,” she said.
Although, no amount of time will ever bring Wes back.
Since his death, Sapp has made it her mission to join the fight against the opioid crisis. Sapp and Eyster’s mom, Cindy Patane, founded Sneads Ferry’s Hope, helped open a detox center and bring a Quick Response Team to Onslow County.
“We’re disappointed in the years he received, but we’re grateful he got anything,” Sapp said. “I’ve seen lives change, and that matters. I don’t know that all of that would’ve happened had we not gone through, so there’s purpose in everything.”
August 31 is International Overdose Awareness Day. Sapp says they hold an online vigil every year in honor of Wes and Matthew.
Sapp is still working to change more laws, and hopes to see more dealers prosecuted when rehabilitation isn’t the answer.