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Hofstra sophomore charged with manslaughter in girlfriend's overdose death

Joseph Joudah, 19, arrives at the Nassau County

Joseph Joudah, 19, arrives at the Nassau County Court in Mineola on Friday, Oct. 30, 2015. Joudah, a Hofstra University sophomore, pleaded not guilty to charges including criminally negligent homicide in the campus death of his girlfriend in April. Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

A Hofstra University sophomore has been charged with manslaughter in connection with the heroin overdose death of his girlfriend in a school dorm in April.

Joseph Joudah, now 19, pleaded not guilty to charges also including criminally negligent homicide during a Mineola court arraignment Friday morning.

Prosecutors contend Joudah, of Islip Terrace, injected Olivia McClellan with heroin and witnessed negative effects of the drug taking hold, but waited 16 hours to call for help on April 18.

"He allegedly injected McClellan with heroin into her left hand having the belief that she had taken (legally obtained) prescription medication, and having the belief that she had once attempted suicide by taking heroin," Acting Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas said in a statement.

"Her eyes rolled back, she displayed difficulty breathing and her legs shook uncontrollably, among other things," the statement said.

"Joudah allegedly injected himself as well and stayed in the room with McClellan until about 9 p.m., when he left having the belief that only he, alone, knew of McClellan's physical distress and its cause," the statement said.

But Joudah's attorney, Kevin Keating, called the prosecution unprecedented and questioned the indictment's timing days before a district attorney's election.

Keating told a judge the government has evidence that the McClellan, 19, from California, went with his client to buy heroin, that she asked to do heroin and that both students were addicted to heroin.

A judge set bail at $10,000.

With William Murphy


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