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Man sentenced to 15 years after not calling 911 in overdose death of friend

Tad Colby Johnson convicted of lesser charge of culpable negligence
Tad Colby Johnson.jpg
Posted at 11:00 PM, Oct 30, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-31 00:16:01-04

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — A 55-year-old Palm Beach County man on Monday was sentenced to 15 years in prison 5 1/2 months after a jury convicted him of the lesser charge of culpable negligence in the death of his friend who had suffered an overdose.

On May 11, Tad Colby Johnson also was found guilty of felon in possession of a firearm and abuse of a body instead of third-degree murder. Circuit Court Judge Cahill Shepherd sentenced him to 15 years each for the negligence and possession of a firearm and one year for abuse of a body to be served concurrently. He originally was arrested on a manslaughter charge.

On Jan. 26, 2020, Walter Eichner contacted the Tequesta Police Department to report his daughter, Lacy Eichner, 35, missing. During their investigation, detectives utilized her vehicles installed ONSTAR system, and located her Chevrolet Equinox parked in front the apartment building at 1815
Juno Road near North Palm Beach.

They contacted Johnson in an apartment where they found a woman who had been staying at his apartment, later identified as Eichner, lying at the foot of the bed. Blood was on and about her mouth, and her legs were parted and she was partially covered with a blanket.

She had been in a state of decomposition. Medication bottles and condoms were nearby.

Johnson told detectives he had found her around 6 p.m. the night before.

He told investigators she was breathing and he could feel her pulse. Instead of calling 911, he phoned a friend who he said was a paramedic.

Johnson was told to revive her by inserting ice cubes into her vagina and anus, and to telephone 911.

He performed the instructions except for calling 911.

After going to a nearby gas station for more ice cubes he realized that he forgot his wallet.

Johnson said returned to his apartment and found that she was no longer breathing and that she no longer had a pulse.

Johnson said he knew Eichner was an addict, like himself.

"Lacey Eichner and Tad Johnson were imperfect people making imperfect choices," Assistant Public Defender Maurissa Rhiannon Jones saidduring the trial. "This doesn't mean either one of them is responsible for Lacey Eichner's death."