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January 9, 2013

Southfield man arrested in connection to Birmingham woman’s lethal overdose

By Tiffany Esshaki
C & G Staff Writer

BIRMINGHAM — Nearly six months after her untimely death, a Southfield man has been charged with delivering a fatal dose of heroin to Birmingham resident Tawnya Jarvis last summer.

Richard Patrick Babbie, 38, will be back in court Jan. 31 on charges of delivery of heroin causing death, a felony punishably by up to life in prison. Birmingham detectives arrested Babbie Dec. 27 at his Southfield home.

“It’s an unusual charge,” said Cmdr. Terry Kiernan of the Birmingham Police Department. “We’ve never charged anybody with this in Birmingham before.”

On June 26, 2012, emergency room staff at Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, notified Birmingham police that a drug overdose had occurred in the 2100 block of East Maple after Jarvis, 37, arrived at the hospital unresponsive. She was pronounced dead shortly after she was admitted.

According to Kiernan, Babbie, who is accused of dealing drugs to Jarvis, allegedly helped administer a heroin shot to her, while in her Birmingham apartment. Also present at the time was Jarvis’ male neighbor, police said. Babbie and the neighbor transported Jarvis to the hospital, when she fell unconscious shortly after the drug was administered, according to police reports. Police questioned the two men at the hospital.

Kiernan said a number of things had to happen throughout the course of the past six months before police could make an arrest in the case. The Oakland County Medical Examiner’s Office needed to conduct an autopsy on Jarvis before the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office could review the autopsy report and issue a warrant for Babbie’s arrest. He was arraigned Dec. 28, and his bond was set at $30,000 cash only, which he posted, earning his release.

On Jan. 4 Babbie appeared in Oakland County’s 48th District Court in front of Judge Diane D’Agostini, where his preliminary exam was set for 10 a.m. Jan 31. His defense attorney, Jerome Sabotta, said his client should be presumed innocent, since there are so many details surrounding Jarvis’ death.

“These cases arise all the time when people are sharing drugs,” said Sabotta. “The question is, No. 1, did he deliver the drugs, and No. 2, did the drugs cause the death? From what I understand, she had a lot of drugs in her system that had nothing to do with what Mr. Babbie did. She was a drug addict.”

According to a press release from Birmingham police, the Oakland County Medical Examiner’s Office determined that, based on Jarvis’ toxicology report, she died from an overdose of suspected heroin.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Tiffany Esshaki at tesshaki@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1095.