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Drug death sentencing

A jury July 18 found 43-year-old Christopher Ferrante guilty of two counts of Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Deliver, two counts of Criminal Use of a Communication Facility, and two counts of Possession of a Controlled Substance in the drug-related death of 26-year-old Michael Racciato on Christmas Day in 2020.

Ferrante faces a maximum of six years and 8 months in state prison for a sentence in the standard range. Common Pleas Judge John Morganelli presided over this case.

According to a news release, on Dec. 25, 2020, Colonial Regional Police responded to an unresponsive male inside his vehicle at the Towne Place Hotel parking lot in Lower Nazareth Township. The male, identified as Michael Racciato, was pronounced dead at the scene at 3800 Easton Nazareth Highway by the Northampton County Coroner’s Office. The cause of death was acute intoxication due to combined effects of fentanyl toxicity, and the manner of death was determined accidental.

Police learned Racciato was transported from the Walmart located on Route 248 to St. Luke’s Anderson Campus via ambulance for a possible drug overdose Dec. 24. While in the hospital, Racciato texted Ferrante and asked him to pick him up.

Video surveillance revealed Racciato, after being discharged, was picked up by a silver-colored Nissan Rogue SUV outside the emergency room just before 9:30 p.m. and dropped off at his vehicle at Walmart 10 minutes later. Shortly after, both vehicles left the parking lot.

In an interview, Ferrante said he was a heroin and fentanyl user who supplied Raccioto with same and had taken him from the hospital back to Walmart to get his car on the date of his death. Ferrante said he sold Racciato three to five bags of fentanyl and provided him with a needle.

Morganelli revoked Ferrante’s bail as a result of the guilty verdicts. Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 25 at 11 a.m.

First Deputy District Attorney Richard Pepper and Deputy District Attorney Patricia Turzyn prosecuted this case.