Dallas Woman Admits Role in March 2014 Overdose Death of Dallas Teenager
DALLAS—A 27-year-old Dallas woman appeared in federal court this morning before U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul D. Stickney and pleaded guilty to a felony drug offense stemming from her role in the March 2014 heroin overdose death of a Dallas teenage girl, Rian Lashley, announced John Parker, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas.
Cierra Allyn Rounds pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute a controlled substance. She faces a maximum statutory sentence of 20 years in federal prison and a $1 million fine. Rounds remains in custody pending sentencing, which is set for September 8, 2015, before U.S. District Judge Sam A. Lindsay.
A federal grand jury in Dallas returned a three count indictment in September 2014 charging Rounds and her two co-defendants, Glen William Brunton, 28, and Kathryn Grace Dirks, 25, each with one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance (heroin); one count of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, the use of said substance resulting in the death and serious bodily injury of Rian Lashley; and one count of distribution of a controlled substance (heroin), the use of said substance resulting in the death and serious bodily injury of Rian Lashley. Brunton is set for trial before Judge Lindsay on April 6, 2015; Dirks remains a fugitive.
According to plea documents filed in the case, during the early morning hours of March 25, 2014, Rounds and Brunton traveled from a residence in Dallas to an IHOP restaurant in Plano, Texas. After arriving at the restaurant, Rounds and Brunton joined Dirks, a local heroin distributor known as “J.C.,” and Lashley at a booth, and the group at breakfast together. While sitting in the booth, Rounds and the others became aware that Lashley possessed a large sum of money, approximately $3,000, a cell phone and an iPad.
Rounds admitted that later that morning, in the IHOP parking lot, J.C. delivered five baggies of “China White” heroin to Brunton and that Brunton subsequently distributed the heroin to Lashley in exchange for $100 cash. Rounds and the others learned through conversations with Lashley that she had never used heroin prior to that day. After acquiring the heroin, Rounds, Dirks and Lashley left the IHOP in Lashley’s vehicle, and they traveled to a residence in Dallas where Rounds was living. J.C. and Brunton departed the IHOP in a separate vehicle.
While traveling to the Dallas residence, Rounds used Lashley’s cell phone to send a series of text messages to J.C., including their proximity to the residence and a text message advising J.C. that “…I figured ud want me on this money.” Rounds admitted that when she sent this message to J.C. she was notifying him that she understood that she was to attempt to steal the money Lashley possessed and turn it over to J.C. As Rounds and the others arrived at the Dallas residence, Rounds sent another text message to J.C. asking if she should take Lashley and Dirks inside. J.C. responded with a text message that read, “Don’t leave don’t let them leave.” Rounds understood the message to mean to take Lashley into the residence and to keep her there.
Once inside the residence, Rounds and Dirks, aided and abetted by each other, and at Lashley’s request, took possession of the heroin that was originally supplied by J.C. and used a syringe to inject heroin into Lashley. Shortly before that heroin injection was administered, Rounds sent a text message to J.C. stating “…ima bout to shoot her up for her first time.” Rounds admitted that she hoped the heroin injection would incapacitate Lashley in such a way to allow Rounds to steal the money that Lashley possessed.
Rounds admitted that later that afternoon, Lashley began showing signs of distress, and she and Dirks placed Lashley in a bathtub of ice water in an attempt to reverse the effects of the heroin. After Lashley was removed from the tub, Lashley was placed on a couch and appeared to go to sleep.
Lashley died later that evening as a direct result of the heroin that was administered to her. An autopsy performed at the Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences on March 26, 2014, concluded that Lashley died as a result of the toxic effects of heroin.
The Dallas Police Department and the FBI investigated this case. Deputy Criminal Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney Rick Calvert and Assistant U.S. Attorney Phelesa Guy are prosecuting.