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Girlfriend gets 71/2 years in drug overdose death

Mandi Craig admitted to stealing pills from her terminally ill mother's home. Her boyfriend, David Waiman, overdosed and died.

Published September 20, 2005

LARGO - A 21-year-old woman charged with murder in the drug overdose death of her boyfriend has pleaded no contest to a manslaughter charge and has agreed to spend more than seven years in prison.

Mandi Craig agreed to the sentence in court Tuesday morning.

Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Linda Allan sentenced her to 71/2 years in prison, though she will receive 309 days off that sentence as credit for time she has spent in jail since her arrest in November.

Largo police said Craig stole Xanax, morphine and other pills from her terminally ill mother's home in Dunedin in December 2003. She went to the Largo home of her boyfriend, David Waiman, where the pair and other friends took the drugs.

Waiman overdosed and died.

Prosecutions in drug overdose deaths are fairly rare because it's difficult for investigators to prove who provided drugs to the person who died.

But Craig admitted to police that she stole her mother's drugs and provided them to Waiman and her friends.

As an investigation progressed, Craig moved to Colorado. She was taken into custody there after a Pinellas grand jury handed up a murder indictment in November. She was extradited to Florida in February.

Prosecutor Bradley Burnette said Craig's public defender approached the state about reaching a plea agreement. Burnette said Waiman's family wanted Craig to serve some prison time and thought the agreement reached in court Tuesday was appropriate.

Craig will be on probation for 71/2 years after her release from prison.

The number of drug overdose deaths in the area is increasing each year, according to data from the Pinellas-Pasco Medical Examiner's Office. Last year, 239 people died in the two counties, up from 207 the year before.

Those more than double the 96 fatal overdoses in 2000. In 1997, 45 people died from overdoses in the two counties.

[Last modified September 20, 2005, 19:39:02]

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