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Charges Filed in Helium Huffing Death

By Bryan Navarro

MEDFORD, Ore. — The father of a 14-year-old who died after huffing helium, says charges against the person responsible are a small relief from a tragic ordeal. He says it was a bleak outlook for months, but is happy that 32-year-old Richard Mowery is charged with “criminally negligent homicide”

On February 18th, 14-year-old Ashley Long died from an air embolism, after inhaling helium directly from the tank. Friends and police say there were drugs and alcohol there, provided by an adult. Investigators are saying Richard Mowery is responsible. Police originally talked with the 32 year old back in February, just after the incident. He was indicted by a grand jury on Thursday, charged with criminally negligent homicide.

Alen Long, Ashley’s father, says she should not have been at the party, but says it’s Mowery who’s ultimately responsible. Long wants to know why a man twice his daughter’s age was at a party where teenagers were drinking. He says he’s glad the process is moving forward; he also says, three months after Ashley’s death, it’s about time.

Criminally negligent homicide is the lowest tier of deadly crime, where the person should know the consequence; that’s versus a manslaughter charge where the person does know the consequence, like drunk driving.

Katherine McAloon, the 27-year-old who hosted the party, was indicted on 15 charges in total, 7 of giving alcohol to a minor, 7 of giving marijuana to a minor, and 1 charge of criminal mistreatment, for delaying calling for medical help. She and Mowery are due to appear in court on June 6th.