By Jonathan Stempel
NEW YORK (Reuters) - A man who pleaded guilty to conspiring to sell the drug "Molly" to concert goers, including a 23-year-old man who died from an overdose at a 2013 electronic music festival in New York City, was sentenced on Friday to probation and community service.
Patrick Morgan, 24, of Buffalo, New York, was accused of selling about 80 of the pills, sometimes known as ecstasy, to three people who intended to consume and distribute them at Electric Zoo, an outdoor three-day concert on New York City's Randall's Island.
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Morgan had supplied the pills to one of the people, who shared them with the others. One, Jeffrey Russ, 23, collapsed from a seizure after using them at the event on Aug. 30, 2013, and died the next morning.
Another concert goer, a 20-year-old woman, also died at the event, and the final day of performances was canceled.
U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos in Manhattan sentenced Morgan to three years probation, including eight months of home confinement, and 500 hours of community service.
Ramos said prison was inappropriate because Morgan was only a "link in the chain" with an "incidental" role in Russ' death.
"All Mr. Morgan ever was, was a very small-time drug dealer," Ramos said. No one else was criminally charged.
The sentence was imposed after the victim's father, John Russ, of Rochester, New York, lamented a lack of legal accountability for his son's death.
"I am forced to live with the outcome of this case, but I cannot accept it," he told the judge. "I am a broken and sad man. My son is gone. I cannot get a new one."
Morgan said he had learned his lesson, and was trying to rebound from his own drug use. "There is no one to blame but myself," he said.
Prosecutors had recommended a 10- to 16-month prison term.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse says Molly, or ecstasy, has similarities to the stimulant amphetamine and the hallucinogen mescaline.
It says the drug produces feelings of increased energy, euphoria, emotional warmth and empathy toward others, and distorts sensory and time perception.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Christian Plumb)