New Bedford man sentenced to more than 4 years after fleeing Fall River apartment when woman OD’d on heroin

Article Date: July 14, 2014

From The Herald News

By Kevin P. O’Connor

FALL RIVER — When his attempts to revive Venus Chumack failed, Christopher Anderson riffled through her jewelry box and then cleaned up evidence of the drug use that was killing her, prosecutors charged.

Then he left Chumack, who died of a heroin overdose on Feb. 12, 2011 — taking her laptop computer, jewelry and cash. He left her 3-year-old granddaughter alone to fend for herself, police charged.

For that, Anderson, 51, of 80 Foxborough St., New Bedford, was sentenced to up to six years in prison Monday after pleading guilty to manslaughter, reckless endangerment of a child, larceny and possession of heroin and cocaine with the intent to distribute.

Prosecutors Jennifer Sowa and Garrett Fregault told Superior Court Judge Renee Dupuis that Chumack, 46, a former New Bedford police officer, was caring for her granddaughter at 927 Pine St. when she invited Anderson to her home.

An investigation by Detective Kelly Furtado and Massachusetts State Police Trooper Chris Dumont determined that Chumack and Anderson smoked crack cocaine and that Chumack twice injected heroin. The second time she began to have difficulty breathing and became unconscious — all symptoms of a heroin overdose.

Anderson, police alleged, tried to revive Chumack by carrying her into the bathroom and splashing water on her face. When he could not wake her, he stole her valuables and left her. Police alleged she was alive when Anderson left the home.

Chumack’s body was found the next day by her sister, who lived in the apartment next door. The 3-year-old child was unharmed. The child directed Chumack’s sister to the bathroom, police said.

Police allege they recovered Chumack’s computer and jewelry when they went to Anderson’s home the next day.

Anderson admitted to manslaughter. That charge alleges someone committed a crime that resulted, as an unintended consequence, in the death of another person. Prosecutors alleged Anderson was guilty of manslaughter by providing Chumack with heroin and also by failing to call for help when it was clear she was suffering an overdose.

Defense lawyer Brian Carney requested a sentence of three years. Dupuis sentenced to Anderson to no less than four and a half years and no more than six years in prison. He got credit for 432 days of prison time for the time served while awaiting trial.

Original Article: http://www.heraldnews.com/article/20140714/NEWS/140718243