Bail granted for man charged with manslaughter in fentanyl death
'Your parents are obviously very supportive and I hope you don't disappoint them,' judge says
Wearing leg shackles and orange coveralls, Jordan Yarmey turned in the prisoner's box and smiled at his parents Tuesday after an Edmonton judge granted him bail.
The 25-year-old faces the city's first manslaughter charge in relation to a fentanyl overdose death.
A number of terms and conditions were set for bail, including $2,000 cash deposit and a curfew of 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Yarmey must live with his parents and not consume alcohol or drugs.
"If the police come at 2 a.m., you are going to have to answer the door, not your parents," Judge Renée Cochard told Yarmey.
Edmonton police last knocked on Yarmey's door at about 1:30 p.m. on Jan. 27, 2016, after they found the body of Szymon Kalich in the hallway of an apartment building at 3303 18th Ave.
Earlier, Yarmey had awakened after sleeping for the better part of two days and found Kalich in his apartment. He pulled Kalich out into the hallway, a bail hearing was told Monday.
Yarmey told police he thought Kalich, 33, was merely passed out, unaware the man was dead from a fentanyl overdose.
Nine months later, police charged Yarmey with manslaughter.
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On that January day, as police knocked on his door, Yarmey was making arrangements to meet an undercover RCMP officer that same evening in a coffee shop, to sell $400 worth of fentanyl, the Crown said.
"Mr. Yarmey continued to sell fentanyl on the same day a man died in his apartment," the prosecutor said.
At the restaurant, Yarmey told the undercover officer he didn't know the dead man but said the pair had been doing "crazy Hollywood lines" together, the Crown said.
Yarmey admitted to the undercover officer he had given fentanyl to Kalich, but insisted the pills weren't a bad batch, just that Kalich was using a lot.
Defence lawyer Timothy Dunlap told the judge that Kalich brought his own oxycodone, a prescription painkiller, to the apartment that day and said it was "very likely he had his own fentanyl."
Dunlap said his client's family is "undyingly supportive" of him, helping to pay for his addiction treatment at a private residential facility.
Yarmey has been off drugs for about 300 days, Dunlap said, suggesting the judge compare his client's healthy appearance to his mug shot taken at the time of the arrest.
"He looked like a skeleton compared with today."
Dunlap said police have been looking for a "poster boy" in the battle against fentanyl, pointing to the nine-month delay between Kalich's death and the laying of charges.
But the Crown said a manslaughter charge had always been possible and there was nothing surprising about it, given that police were waiting for toxicology tests.
The Crown opposed any release on bail, and argued fentanyl trafficking has deadly consequences, with 159 overdose deaths reported by Edmonton police in the first six months of this year.
But while the judge agreed fentanyl deaths are becoming a major public health issue, she noted that Yarmey faces a lengthy sentence if convicted, and gave him credit for his efforts in treatment, which his parents paid for.
"Your parents are obviously very supportive and I hope you don't disappoint them," Cochard said.
Dunlap said he's thankful the judge recognized the progress his client has made in treatment.
Yarmey's parents said their son is committed to changing his life.
Yarmey could now be released from the Edmonton Remand Centre within a couple of days, once his parents post the cash bail.
He'll be back in court Nov. 15.