Man Sentenced To Jail For Role In Fatal Drug Overdose

David Creed •

A former island resident was sentenced Thursday to two and a half years in the Barnstable House of Corrections for his role in the 2021 fatal fentanyl overdose of a 2019 graduate of Nantucket High School. 

Timothy Tanana-Nye, 31, of Cape Cod, pleaded guilty to a charge of distributing a Class A drug (fentanyl), while a charge of manslaughter against him stemming from the same incident was dismissed by the prosecution as part of the plea agreement. The sentence was announced Thursday morning by Nantucket Superior Court Judge Karen Goodwin, while Tanana-Nye's plea took place in a separate hearing Wednesday afternoon.

Timothy Tanana-Nye

Tanana-Nye was ordered to serve 18 months of the two-and-a-half-year sentence in the House of Corrections. The remaining balance will be suspended if he completes three years of probation without a violation. The conditions of the probation include having no contact with the victim’s family, remaining drug-free, and committing to random screens. As a convicted felon, Tanana-Nye must supply a DNA sample to the state within 10 days of his May 2 sentencing.

Tanana-Nye was credited for 175 days he had already spent in jail while the case was ongoing – leaving him with approximately one year of remaining jail time. He was handcuffed by court officers and taken to the mainland by Nantucket Sheriff Jim Perelman and his staff immediately after the sentence was announced on Thursday.

The victim’s father, Gordon Folger, spoke at the sentencing. He told the court he was disheartened by the punishment and felt it was not commensurate with the crime committed.

“Somehow I feel in this case we may have gotten it wrong,” Folger said. “This man is a predator. A predator of young women. He finds young women who are vulnerable, have low self-esteem.”

According to the police report, officers and EMTs were called to an island residence on the night of April 20, 2021, for a drug overdose where they discovered Tanana-Nye performing CPR on an unresponsive woman. First responders administered Narcan to the victim at the scene – an apartment in the Richmond Great Point development off Old South Road – but she was not breathing and had no pulse by the time they arrived. The woman was pronounced dead at Nantucket Cottage Hospital. 

“We never prepared (our daughter) for someone like him, and that was our fault,” Folger added.

Folger was accompanied by other members of the victim's family at the sentencing including brothers and sisters. They chose not to speak, however. Folger said he and his family would plead with his daughter to stay away from Tanana-Nye, but continued to interact with him.

“He called her, he pressured her, and he manipulated her into the morgue,” Folger said. “And he will do it again. This is who he is.”

The victim in the case was 20-year-old Seven Folger who was in a relationship with Tanana-Nye at the time. As her father mentioned during the sentencing, there was reason to believe Tanana-Nye was a danger to the victim. 

Former Nantucket Police detective Chris Kelly said at the time of the incident that the victim had overdosed about six months prior at a different location, and Tanana-Nye was present at that overdose as well. Tanana-Nye's roommate told police he knew Tanana-Nye was a drug dealer and that Tanana-Nye had allegedly tried selling him drugs in the past - including the night of April 20, 2021.

Police stated in their report that responding officers observed a white powdery substance on a bureau in the bedroom of the apartment. A search warrant was obtained later that night, and officers discovered additional evidence, including a small baggie believed to be fentanyl hidden in a bag of dog food. Four grams of Fentanyl were found in Tanana-Nye's bedroom that night.

Folger asked Goodwin to extend the probationary period from three years to five towards the end of his statement.

“This court may have deemed more young women to death,” he said. “Now is the time to ensure no one else’s child is lost to a monster, and we failed.”

Goodwin said that she felt comfortable with the plea after considering all of the evidence and balancing all of the circumstances. She reiterated she had every right to reject the plea, but felt it was appropriate after both sides came to the agreement.

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