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Date Rape Drug Trial Continues

February 10, 2000

DETROIT (AP) _ A man on trial for a woman’s date-rape drug death and the near death of her best friend admitted to police that he ``poured″ the substance into the girls’ drinks at a party, a prosecutor said during opening arguments Thursday.

``Evidence will show she was killed. She was killed by Joshua Cole,″ said Doug Baker, a Wayne County assistant prosecutor.

Cole is charged with manslaughter and three counts of felony poisoning, each carrying a possible life sentence. Manslaughter is punishable by up to 15 years behind bars.

Prosecutors say Cole and three other men gave the girls soft drinks secretly spiked with gamma-hydroxybutyrate during a party Jan. 16, 1999.

Samantha Reid, 15, died the next day. Her best friend, Melanie Sindone, who was a few days shy of her 15th birthday, fell into a coma but survived. A third girl allegedly ingested the GHB but did not become ill.

Since 1990, GHB has been linked to at least 58 deaths and more than 5,700 recorded overdoses. This trial is believed to be among the first in the country resulting from a GHB-related death.

Cole’s lawyer, John Courtright, said his client spiked the drinks with what he believed was only a harmless intoxicant supplied by someone else at the party, 26-year-old Erick Limmer.

Limmer and two other men also charged in Samantha’s GHB poisoning death are being tried by a separate jury because of a confession Cole allegedly made to police.

Opening arguments were given Wednesday for Limmer, Daniel Brayman, 18, and Nicholas Holtschlag, 18. They each are charged with manslaughter and two counts of poisoning.

Prosecutors allege Cole was the one to spike the Mountain Dew that Samantha drank. Baker said that the day after Samantha died, Cole told investigators that he put a ``few drops″ of GHB into the girls’ drinks, but later changed his story and admitted that he ``poured″ it in the drinks.

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