State Hospital Inmate Charged in Fatal Overdose of Fall River Man
A patient at Bridgewater State Hospital has been charged with manslaughter for allegedly causing a fellow inmate's death by supplying him with a lethal dose of fentanyl and cocaine.
Brockton resident Kevin Malette, 35, was indicted on manslaughter and drug charges Friday by a Plymouth County Grand Jury, according to the Office of Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz.
Jeffrey Link of Fall River was found unresponsive in his room on Sept. 2019 at 12:33 a.m., the victim of an apparent overdose. He was later pronounced dead at Morton Hospital in Taunton. Malette allegedly gave drugs to Link in exchange for around $100 worth of canteen items such as food and coffee. He is now being held at the Bristol County House of Corrections awaiting arraignment.
At the time of his death, Link, 51, was in custody awaiting trial, according to the Fall River Herald News. In January of 2019 he had been sent to the state facility for a mental health evaluation and was set to appear in court on Oct. 25 for a competency hearing.
Link in June 2016 was charged with armed carjacking and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon in connection with a May 2016 incident in Dartmouth. He allegedly used a bottle to strike a woman over the head as she sat in a parking lot, then forced his way into her car and drove off. He was later arrested in New Bedford and held on $250,000 bail.
Bridgewater State Hospital is run by Wellpath Recovery Solutions, a contracted vendor for the Massachusetts Department of Corrections. In 2017, Gov. Charlie Baker solicited proposals from private correctional medical care companies to reform operations at the facility, which had a history of trouble, including several inmate deaths.
Wellpath "was awarded a contract through a competitive solicitation process to transform Bridgewater State Hospital (BSH) from a custody-oriented to a treatment-oriented model in partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Correction," the company's website reads.
In similar "death by overdose" cases, the Commonwealth has had to show that the defendant "knew or should have known" that the transfer of drugs had a high likelihood of substantial harm, such as overdose or death.