A 33-year-old New Mexico man was sentenced yesterday to one to three years in prison for mailing a small amount of heroin to a Washington lawyer, who died of a drug overdose hours after getting the package.
U.S. District Judge Barrington Parker sentenced Lee R. Heinsch of Albuquerque to the prison term despite pleas by his lawyer, William Taylor, that his client be allowed to perform community service.
"To be sure, you are not charged with homicide," Parker told Heinsch, " . . . (but) soon after your drugs were sent, Mr. (Winston) Prude met his death."
Heinsch, who pleaded guilty to heroin distribution and using the mail to send the heroin, wiped his eyes as Parker pronounced sentence. Also in the courtroom were Heinsch's parents and wife, who sat quietly, and Prude's girlfriend, Donna Yesner, who cried frequently during the two-hour sentencing.
Prude, 34, was found dead last April 22 on the kitchen floor of his home at 323-A Fifth St. SE.
According to court documents, Prude had asked Heinsch, his former college roommate, to purchase heroin and had sent him $500 to pay for it. The heroin, which was unusually pure, arrived at Prude's office April 19. Later that day, court documents state, Prude told a secretary at his law firm that he had received a package that contained heroin and that he was going to have a "very good" weekend.
Prude, a former Justice Department lawyer, was arrested in May 1983 along with Eric M. Breindel, then a Senate Intelligence Committee staff member, when they tried to buy heroin from an undercover officer. Both pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor and were put on probation.