Dealer sentenced in OD death of borough man

Rodney Coriano

WATERBURY — A drug dealer who sold a lethal dose of crack cocaine to a Naugatuck father will spend seven years in prison after he pleaded guilty Monday to his role in the man’s homicide.

Rodney Coriano, 29, of Ansonia, pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide and sale of illegal drugs as part of a plea deal that earned him a seven-year prison sentence.

Those crimes stem from Coriano’s sale of crack cocaine to a 57-year-old Naugatuck father who was found on the couch in his Spruce Drive home on New Year’s Eve in 2016.

After his son called authorities, police forced their way into the man’s home. Next to him, were three small bags of crack cocaine and he was holding a glass pipe with brown residue burnt to the bottom in one hand. A medical examiner would later rule that he had died of a cocaine overdose.

Using the man’s cell phone, police tracked several text messages to a phone number that was later identified to belong to Coriano, who was suspected of selling the man the crack. Police — posing as the dead man — sent Coriano a text a few days later, setting up a deal for more drugs.

When Coriano drove onto Spruce Drive to do the deal, police moved in, taking him into custody, finding he had marijuana, five grams of crack cocaine and 22 bags of heroin on him, according to prosecutor Terry Mariani.

Mariani said Monday in Waterbury Superior Court that had the case gone to trial, authorities would have proved that Coriano supplied the man with the cocaine.

Coriano will serve five years of special parole after he’s released from prison. Coriano has multiple convictions on his rap sheet, including selling drugs, violating probation and larceny.

Other than answering routine questions, he made no comments during the brief court hearing Monday.