Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina announced that a 22-year-old Willingboro drug dealer who delivered heroin to the Marlton home of a teenage girl who fatally overdosed in late 2017 was sentenced in Superior Court today to eight years in New Jersey state prison.
Under the No Early Release Act, Austin F. Cooper must serve 85 percent of the term before becoming eligible for parole consideration. Cooper, who pled guilty in April 2019 to one count of Strict Liability for Drug-Induced Death (First Degree), was sentenced by the Hon. Philip E. Haines, J.S.C.
Madison McDonald, 15, was discovered by her father after a heroin overdose on December 26, 2017. She was unresponsive but alive and was transported to Virtua Marlton Hospital before being flown to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
Madison was pronounced dead at CHOP two days later. The investigation revealed that Cooper delivered 10 bags of heroin to Madison’s residence prior to her death.
“We sadly have grown accustomed to drug overdoses taking the lives of young people, from all walks of life,” Prosecutor Coffina said. “We rarely, however, see someone as young as 15 die this way, which only deepens the tragedy of Madison’s loss. I would like to express our admiration for Madison’s father, Stephen, for his courage in fighting through unfathomable grief to stand up for his daughter in court today and throughout the entirety of this case. We wish for healing for all of Madison’s family and friends.
I’d also like to acknowledge the Evesham Township Police Department for their diligent pursuit of this challenging investigation that enabled us to substantiate the enhanced charge for a Drug-Induced Death against this defendant whose conduct, as Judge Haines said during the sentencing hearing, ‘demonstrated a shocking indifference to human life.’”
The case was prosecuted by Assistant Prosecutor Jeremy Lackey and Assistant Prosecutor Jamie Hutchinson. The lead investigator was Evesham Detective Andrew Beuschel. Assistance was also provided by Detective Kevin Sobotka of the BCPO High Tech Crimes Unit.