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Helium Death Suspects Plead Guilty

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MEDFORD, Ore. — Two people responsible for the death of a teenage girl who inhaled helium and collapsed will spend several years behind bars for their crimes.

It was an emotional day in the courtroom Tuesday morning as several of the victim’s family members read letters to the judge. Ashley Long’s father, stepfather and mother all expressed their pain and anger about her death.

In February 2012, 14-year-old Ashley was at a party with some of her friends at McAloon’s home. McAloon provided drugs and alcohol at the party. Richard Mowery was also at that same party. He ended up showing several minors, including Ashley, how to inhale from a helium tank. Ashley collapsed and died after inhaling from the tank. Later, an autopsy report revealed she died from air embolism.

Tuesday morning, the judge sentenced McAloon to 28 months in prison on the delivery of a controlled substance to a minor, 6 months concurrent on the charge of criminal mistreatment, and 30 days on several counts of furnishing alcohol to a minor. As for Mowery, he was sentenced to 90 days in jail for criminal negligent homicide and 3 years supervised probation.

Ashley’s parents said it’s tough to deal with the loss of their daughter. They said the D.A. did the best she could with the charges and agree that Ashley’s death was an accident. They said they consider this sentencing justice.

McAloon could qualify for early-release programs while in prison, so she may not serve all of her time.