Not sure if this belongs in the House of Konciousness thread An Erie County Prison inmate has been charged with homicide in the death of a fellow prisoner who, authorities said, fatally overdosed on heroin and fentanyl in May. In a criminal complaint filed Monday, the Erie County District Attorney's Office accused Nathan Howard, 48, of Tacoma, Wash., of drug delivery resulting in a death -- which is classified as a homicide -- and said he supplied the drugs to the victim, inmate Steven J. Burkhart, 35. The complaint alleges Howard smuggled the drugs into the prison, but it does not describe how Howard obtained the drugs and possessed them in the prison. District Attorney Jack Daneri would not go into detail about how Howard got the drugs into the prison, but he said in an interview, "We believe he brought the drugs into the jail contained within his body." The complaint said Burkhart overdosed the afternoon of May 2 and died at UPMC Hamot on May 5 of the combined effects of heroin and fentanyl. It says that drugs Howard brought into the prison also played a role in two other nonlethal inmate opiate overdoses between April 28 and May 2. Those inmates are not named in the complaint. In a news release, Daneri credited the cooperation of the prison staff and said "our investigation produced no evidence of criminal wrongdoing on behalf of Erie County Prison employees." Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper said she was pleased "with the way the warden and the staff handled the entire incident from the moment the overdose occurred and the entire investigation. They were very professional and saved other people's lives. They tried to save (Burkhart's) life but unfortunately, could not." "My sympathies go out to the victim's family," she said. Erie 2nd Ward District Judge Paul Urbaniak arraigned Howard on one felony charge of drug delivery resulting in death and four felony counts of contraband, which charge him with possessing the drugs in prison and furnishing them to Burkhart and two other inmates at the prison. Urbaniak set bond at $500,000 for Howard, who also goes by the name "Natural Tahuti." In court records, he listed his occupation as "public speaking whenever called." According to court records, Howard had been placed in the Erie County Prison on April 27 after his arrest by Millcreek Township police on charges that he possessed with intent to deliver about 10 grams of suspected heroin and several other counts, including possession of drugs, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a prohibited firearm. Anthony Bozich, the deputy chief of detectives with the Erie County District Attorney's Office, investigated the prison overdoses. The complaint says that the first inmate who overdosed on April 28 described to investigators how Howard introduced the drugs into the prison. The complaint, however, does not specify what the inmate said. It says only that what the inmate described "would be consistent with the defendant Howard having smuggled the heroin in the Erie County Prison at the time of his arrest and commitment and the drug being undetected." Bozich said that on April 27, Howard was assigned to a cell with the first overdose victim, an admitted heroin addict, who was experiencing withdrawal. The inmate, identified in court papers as "Inmate #1," told investigators that when he told Howard of his drug withdrawal, Howard produced a folded piece of paper containing a powdered substance, which Howard said was heroin. The inmate said he ingested the powder and experienced effects consistent with heroin usage. Inmate #1 said Howard told him he had no money and would be interested in trading the drug for commissary items. Inmate #1 said Howard asked if he knew of other inmates who would be interested in trading goods for heroin, the complaint states. In the early morning hours of April 28, Inmate #1 said he was awakened by movements made by Howard. He said Howard told him he had two kinds of heroin and gave him another dose. Howard told Inmate #1 that this dose was of higher quality. Inmate #1 said he took the substance, which was the last thing he remembered before suffering an overdose. He was given emergency medical treatment, hospitalized and survived, according to the criminal complaint. Authorities said a second inmate, referred to as "Inmate #2" in court records, overdosed at about 1:20 p.m. on May 2 in the common room of a cellblock but was given emergency medical treatment, hospitalized and survived. This inmate told investigators that on May 2, Burkhart, the man who later died of a drug overdose, offered him heroin. Inmate #2 said he knew that Burkhart had been receiving heroin from Howard in exchange for commissary items and he had seen the heroin, which, he said, was brown and chunky. Inmate #2 said on May 2 as he visited with Burkhart in a common area of the cellblock, Burkhart told him he was expecting a delivery of the drug from Howard. Inmate #2 said Howard then approached and motioned for Burkhart to follow. Inmate #2 said he witnessed Howard hand an item to Burkhart. Burkhart then sat back at the table in the common area with a folded piece of white paper. Minutes later, Burkhart told Inmate #2 he had the heroin, Inmate #2 told investigators. The two then met in Burkhart's cell, where Burkhart showed him a powder in the paper packet that was different from the brown heroin that Inmate #2 said he had seen previously. Inmate #2 said he and Burkhart both took the powder and returned to the common area. "Inmate #2 said this is the last thing he remembered as he had suffered an opiate overdose," the complaint states. Investigators said within 40 minutes of Inmate #2's overdose, Burkhart was discovered in his cell in a disoriented state. As staff approached him, he put a cellophane candy wrapper with powder residue on it in the sink. Burkhart was given emergency medical treatment and was hospitalized but died. Testing later showed the presence of fentanyl on the candy wrapper. Erie County Coroner Lyell Cook later determined that Burkhart died of a combination of heroin and fentanyl, according to the court records. After the series of overdoses, Howard was segregated from others and placed in the restrictive housing unit. Since his "removal from the general population there have been no opiate overdoses at ECP," Bozich wrote in the complaint. LISA THOMPSON can be reached at 870-1802 or by e-mail. 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