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A 72-year-old man linked to a crew of drug dealers blamed in the fentanyl-laced heroin death of The Wire actor Michael K. Williams has been sentenced to more than two years in prison.
Williams, who also starred in films and other TV series including Boardwalk Empire, overdosed in his Brooklyn penthouse apartment in September 2021. He was 54.
At a proceeding in which compassion was offered for the defendant, Carlos Macci was dealt 30 months in prison by US district judge Ronnie Abrams.
Representatives for Michael K. Williams sought leniency for the accused
Dominic Dupont, Williams’ nephew, told the judge that he believed Macci could turn his life around.
“It weighs heavy on me to see someone be in a situation he’s in,” Dupont said. “I understand what it is to be system impacted.”
David Simon, a co-creator of HBO’s The Wire, also urged leniency in a sentencing letter submitted weeks ago.
Simon wrote that Williams had maintained that he was responsible for his drug use and was opposed to mass incarceration, adding that the actor “would fight for Mr. Macci”.
Simon described how Williams, during the show’s third season, quietly acknowledged to a line producer about his own struggles with addiction and allowed a crew member to provide constant companionship to help him resist the temptation to do drugs.
Macci had pleaded guilty to conspiring to possess and distribute narcotics.
But Simon, who covered the drug war as a police reporter at the Baltimore Sun from 1983 to 1995, said Williams confided that an impulse towards addiction would be a constant in his life.
“I miss my friend,” he wrote. “But I know that Michael would look upon the undone and desolate life of Mr Macci and know two things with certainty. First, that it was Michael who bears the fuller responsibility for what happened. And second, no possible good can come from incarcerating a -year-old soul, largely illiterate, who has himself struggled with a lifetime of addiction.”
Judge Abrams told Macci that selling heroin and fentanyl “not only cost Mr. Williams his life, but it’s costing your freedom” – in part because he did not stop selling drugs after Williams died.
Macci was not charged directly in the actor’s death, although others in the case have been. Still, he could have faced nearly 20 years in prison if the judge had not agreed to depart downward from federal sentencing guidelines that called for double-digit years in prison.
Assistant US attorney Micah F Fergenson had urged a sentence of at least four years, saying Macci had more than 20 previous convictions and had not spent much time behind bars despite four drug-related convictions since 2016.
Defense attorney Benjamin Zeman said he was a “huge fan” of The Wire and considered Williams “a tragic victim in this case”. But he said his client was a victim, too, of the drug crisis, causing him to do things to sustain his own drug habit.