Wednesday, March 4, marked the third anniversary of the death of Chase Burnett, the 16-year-old McIntosh High School student who reportedly experimented with a synthetic marijuana blend called “Mojo Diamond EXTREME” that killed him.
Supreme Court Judge Fletcher Sams told his Drug Court participants Wednesday morning that, while Chase’s death was a tragedy, he admired Chase’s parents for their work in publicizing the dangers of the synthetic drug, which ultimately contributed to the arrest and conviction of 12 people who were directly connected to the manufacture and distribution of the drug that killed Chase.
The last of those sentencing hearings took place on Monday, March 23, in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana when Harold Bourgeois, III was handed a 10-year prison sentence on racketeering charges connected to his central role in the manufacture and sale of the synthetic marijuana, according to The Times-Picayune.
The Louisiana-based newspaper reported that Bourgeois pleaded guilty to 18 criminal charges, including racketeering, extortion, operating a clandestine laboratory and even a second-degree kidnapping.
Sams said Wednesday he was pleased to have learned of the final conviction and sentencing in the synthetic marijuana manufacturing case.
Sams also said on Friday that Chase’s father David Burnett, accompanied by his wife and Chase’s mother Yvette, gave a talk at a previous Drug Court meeting.
“He made a big impact on the participants and the team,” Sams said. “I commend him for how he as approached his loss and is doing something positive with it.”
The Times-Picayune reported that David Burnett addressed Bourgeois at the March 23 sentencing to say that he, as a Christian, has forgiven Bourgeois and that his son would have done the same.
David Burnett in a Friday afternoon telephone interview said attending the sentencing in Louisiana was “bittersweet”, because he still feels the pain of losing his son.
“They were directly responsible for my son’s death,” Burnett said. “It was good to see them put away.”
Burnett said that, while the convictions and sentencing in Louisiana offered some closure, his job isn’t finished yet.
“Our number-one goal is to educate and make people awareof what’s out there,” he said. “Now finally justice is being served in the justice system.
“But I’m not finished yet,” Burnett said. “There are more people we are pursuing and we will hold accountable.”