A federal appeals court this week upheld the life sentence of a Dubuque man who provided a fatal dose of heroin to a woman.

Richard L. Parker, 49, was appealing the sentence he received in 2018 after a jury convicted him of distribution of heroin within 1,000 feet of a protected area resulting in death and of possession with intent to distribute heroin. There is no parole in the federal system. 

The U.S. Attorney's Office previously reported that Parker obtained “several grams of heroin” in Chicago and brought it to a home on Rhomberg Avenue in April 2017. 

Parker and others at the home drank alcohol and smoked crack cocaine throughout the day, according to authorities. Before midnight, Parker and a woman went into a back bedroom, where he gave her the heroin. The woman's name has not been released.

She used the drug and stopped breathing. Parker called 911, but the woman could not be revived.

While emergency responders were on the scene, Parker went into another room and hid the remaining heroin in a chair, authorities said. Investigators later found the drugs.

The release notes Parker’s long history of felony convictions, four of which were related to drugs. At the time of the incident, Parker had just been released from a nearly decade-long stint in prison for a burglary conviction.

“Richard Parker committed a deadly crime. The sentence affirmed by the Court of Appeals ensures he will no longer sell lethal narcotics in our community” said Acting United States Attorney Sean Berry in the release. 

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