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Man gets 15 years for fatal drug deal

Kyle German was a fun-loving, handsome, hardworking, kind person who was a friend to all who knew him, his family and friends testified in Suffolk Circuit Court on Thursday.

But his life was cut short on April 6, 2018, when he and two friends tried what they thought was cocaine but turned out to be fentanyl.

The man who sold them the drug, 33-year-old Byron Franklin Ambrose Jr., was sentenced to 15 years of active time on Thursday for the death. He also received an additional two years of active time for a separate incident, which happened three months after German died, that was also believed to be drug-related.

Prosecutor Derek Colvin related the facts of the case. The friends had been drinking and discussed getting cocaine. One of them knew Ambrose and contacted him, and they agreed to meet at the 7-Eleven on Portsmouth Boulevard to purchase one gram of cocaine for $60.

After the three took the substance they received from Ambrose, two of them fell asleep. When they woke up later in the night, German was dead.

An analysis of the drug found in the apartment found it was fentanyl and did not contain any cocaine, Colvin stated. An autopsy showed German had a blood alcohol level of .18 and a fentanyl level of .024. The level of fentanyl alone was within the fatal range.

“Anger, sadness, longing, cheated, empty, heartbroken — the list goes on,” Kyle’s mother, Donna German, said from the witness stand during Thursday’s sentencing hearing. “He was the light of our lives.”

About 300 people turned out for the funeral, and more had to be turned away at the door because there was no room.

“He was a great young man with a full life ahead of him,” Donna German said. “My son wasn’t perfect … but he didn’t deserve to die.”

German, as well as her daughter and two family friends, urged Judge Carl E. Eason Jr. to give a tough sentence. German said it would “spare other families this anguish, torment and loss.”

In March 2020, Kyle’s father died of heart failure, and Donna German said she feels that the loss of their son contributed to her husband’s death.

Ambrose testified and said he had “no idea it was fentanyl.” He claimed he was hanging out in Heritage Acres Apartments that night, and another person in the apartment gave him the drug and told him to go make the sale and he would give him a cut. Ambrose said he did so because he wanted to keep getting high that night.

However, that doesn’t jibe with the fact that one of German’s friends contacted Ambrose himself, prosecutor Derek Colvin pointed out.

Ambrose told the German family, “I’m truly sorry about what happened,” but could not remember Kyle German’s name during his testimony.

Colvin said it was an important day for the German family to be able to say that selling drugs is not a victimless crime.

“He killed Kyle German, and he almost killed two other people,” Colvin said. “It has consequences. He’s selling a death sentence.”

After the hearing, Donna German said she was proud they were able to stand up and speak about Kyle’s death, and she hopes the stiff sentence makes a difference for other drug dealers and users who might be deterred.

“They will be able to see him and talk to him and visit him,” she said of Ambrose and his family. “We will never see Kyle again.”

Ambrose received 15 years for the distribute fentanyl charge related to German’s death. He also got two years for unlawful wounding resulting from what Colvin said many believed was a “drug deal gone bad” in July 2018.