A Bowling Green man who admitted his role in an overdose death and later testified against a co-defendant was sentenced Tuesday to six years in prison.
Scott Bernauer, 49, was sentenced in Warren Circuit Court on charges of reckless homicide by complicity and first-degree possession of a controlled substance.
Bernauer pleaded guilty to the charges last year, admitting to his participation in a heroin sale that ultimately led to the overdose death of Joshua Kinkade, 32, on Nov. 22, 2019.
A grand jury initially indicted Bernauer on two counts of second-degree manslaughter and two counts of first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance (heroin).
An investigation by the Bowling Green-Warren County Drug Task Force into the deaths of Kinkade and Matthew Dobring, 38, who was found dead in his Louisville home Nov. 24, 2019, resulted in indictments against Bernauer, Stephanie Silvano and Tracy Boyd.
Silvano pleaded guilty to a number of counts and, along with Bernauer, testified against Boyd at his trial last month.
Silvano awaits sentencing.
While a jury didn’t hold Boyd responsible for the deaths, he was ultimately found guilty of engaging in organized crime, two counts of first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance and first-degree persistent felony offender. He faces a 30-year prison sentence.
During Bernauer’s time on the witness stand, he testified that he lived in an apartment next door to Boyd’s uncle Robert Cage and said he was a frequent visitor there in 2019 to use drugs.
Bernauer also said he performed various errands for Boyd, including picking up packages to deliver to Silvano, who admitted dealing heroin and other drugs and testified that Boyd was her heroin supplier.
After bringing the packages to Silvano, Bernauer testified that he would take the money he got in return to Boyd.
Bernauer also said he was also asked to act as a lookout outside Cage’s apartment and was given a gun to hide.
“He wanted to make sure I was always sitting outside the apartment watching out for cops,” Bernauer said last month while testifying about Boyd.
Shortly after Kinkade’s death, detectives set up a controlled drug buy using Kinkade’s brother as a cooperating informant, staging a drug deal in an attempt to identify the source of drugs that contributed to Kinkade’s death.
Several law enforcement officials testifying at trial said they witnessed Bernauer meet outside Prince Hookah Lounge with Silvano, who had been identified by Kinkade’s brother as a source of heroin.
Bernauer arrived at and left the drug deal on a bicycle and testified that he gave the money from that transaction to Boyd.
At Bernauer’s sentencing Tuesday, Warren Circuit Judge Steve Wilson told Bernauer that he believed his testimony and was thorough in describing his role in the conspiracy.
“I thought you told the truth and said, ‘This is what happened,’ ” Wilson said. “You took responsibility for your part in killing two people and got a six-year sentence, while your co-defendant got 30 years. It looks like you made a good decision.”
Bernauer’s attorney, Taylor Broderick, argued for probation for her client, while Warren County Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Adam Turner opposed probation.