Chattanooga Man Gets 140-Month Federal Prison Sentence For His Role In Fatal Heroin Overdose

  • Thursday, September 29, 2022
David Jerel Jennings
David Jerel Jennings

A Chattanooga man has been given a 140-month federal prison sentence for his role in the overdose death of Mark Elliot in 2019.

David Jerel Jennings, 36, appeared before Judge Curtis Collier.

His attorney, Gianna Maio, said his sentencing range was 37-46 months were it not for his falling into the Career Criminal category. Jennings' record includes two prior felony drug charges as well as an attempted aggravated robbery.

She called Dr. Steven Cogswell of the Medical Examiner's Office to state that the 58-year-old victim was overweight and in ill health prior to the overdose of heroin, cocaine and alcohol.

Attorney Maio said because of the Career Criminal law that Jennings could be in a range as high as starting out at 180 months.

Chattanooga Police Department officers responded at 10 a.m. on Dec. 2, 2019 to a drug overdose at The Homeaway Suites located at 1949 Northpoint Boulevard. In Room 132, officers located the victim unresponsive.  

Nicole Cimini was in the room with Elliot. Cimini told investigators that Elliot intravenously injected “half a point” of heroin, turned blue, and passed out. Cimini stated she and Elliot purchased the heroin from Joshua Johnson. She stated she initially requested the heroin from Milton Patrick, but Patrick asked Johnson to “serve” them on his behalf.

Investigators interviewed Johnson. Johnson stated he sold Cimini and Elliot two points of heroin for $43. He stated Patrick arranged the deal. Text messages in Johnson’s phone corroborated his and Ms. Cimini’s statements. Investigators later interviewed Patrick, and he stated he arranged the deal between Ms. Cimini and Johnson.

Johnson told investigators he purchased the heroin that he sold Cimini and Elliot from “D,” one day prior. Johnson stated that he and Jeff Scealf met “D” at a gas station across the street from McDonald’s in Red Bank and purchased 20 points of heroin, which they split. Investigators identified “D,” as the defendant, David Jerel Jennings. Video surveillance from the HiTech Fuel Corner Store located at 1998 Dayton Boulevard, Red Bank, captured Johnson and Scealf meeting with the defendant at approximately 5:15 p.m. on Dec. 1, 2019.

On Dec. 3, 2020, investigators located the defendant at his residence at 800 Lullwater Road. The defendant consented to a search of his vehicle and residence. Investigators located a green insulated cup with a pill bottle inside on the sidewalk of the residence. The label of the pill bottle was partially torn but the first name “David” was visible. There were two bags of heroin under the pill bottle inside the cup. Detectives located a small amount of heroin, digital scales, baggies, and $4,696 in U.S. currency inside the residence. The heroin recovered from the sidewalk and residence were analyzed at the DEA Laboratory. The results showed the total amount of substance recovered to be 53.878 grams of heroin. 

The defendant was transported to the CPD Narcotics Office where he admitted to selling 20 points of heroin to Johnson and Scealf on Dec. 1, 2019, at the Hi-Tech Fuel Corner Store located at 1998 Dayton Boulevard, Red Bank. The defendant stated the heroin located on the sidewalk and inside his residence was his.

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