Former UMass grad student convicted in overdose death begins incarceration

  • Former UMass graduate student Jesse Carrillo exits the courtroom June 1 with his defense attorney, J.W. Carney Jr., right, following Carrillo's sentencing at Hampshire Superior Court in Northampton. He was found guilty on charges of involuntary manslaughter and distributing heroin following the 2013 overdose death of Eric Sinacori. Carrillo was sentenced to serve one year in jail as well as five years of probation. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Eric Spofford, founder & CEO of The Granite House in New Hampshire, speaks June 1 on behalf of former UMass graduate student Jesse Carrillo during Carrillo's sentencing at Hampshire Superior Court in Northampton. SARAH CROSBY

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

NORTHAMPTON — A former University of Massachusetts graduate student convicted of supplying a fatal heroin overdose to a fellow student began his jail sentence June 23 despite an ongoing appeal.

Jesse Carrillo, 28, of New Hampshire, was taken into custody following a three-week stay of sentence on charges of involuntary manslaughter and distributing heroin.

He was sentenced to 2½ years in the Hampshire County Jail and House of Correction. Only one year of the incarceration sentence must be served while the remaining year and a half will be stayed on the drug distribution charge if he complies with the terms of his probation, Hampshire Superior Court Judge John Agostini ruled on June 1.

A jury found Carrillo guilty in May for the overdose death of Eric Sinacori, 20, of Whitehouse Station, New Jersey. Sinacori was found dead by his father in his apartment at Puffton Village in Amherst on Oct. 4, 2013. He was a third-year kinesiology major at UMass.

Carrillo will be eligible for parole after serving six months, according to his defense attorney J.W. Carney Jr., of Boston. Carney said he sent a letter to the Hampshire County Sheriff informing him of Carrillo’s recent history.

“I related Jesse’s dedication to substance abuse counseling and his expertise in this area so that if the sheriff wished to make use of this, he’d know Jesse would be pleased to do so,” Carney said.

Carrillo worked as a house manager in a sober house and an admissions counselor for Granite House, a drug and alcohol rehabilitation program in New Hampshire.

Carney has filed an appeal asking for a new trial citing the judge’s refusal to give the jury an option of joint personal use of heroin by both men, and questions about whether there was sufficient evidence to support a conviction of manslaughter.

Emily Cutts can be reached at ecutts@gazettenet.com.