BRISTOL - A Bristol man accused of illegally selling a gun to an accused drug dealer - who has been charged with selling heroin to a woman who died of an overdose - has been granted admission to a program that will allow him to evade a conviction.
Justin Bidwell, 43, of 32 Burlington Ave., was granted a suspension of prosecution on Friday in Bristol Superior Court. The decision, made by Judge John Cronan, will place Bidwell’s case on hold for a year. If he’s successful in the program and can avoid further arrests, the case will be dropped on Jan. 7, 2020.
Bidwell was arrested in October and accused of selling a Mossberg Maverick 88 12-gauge shotgun and some ammunition to Matthew Fazzino, 32, of 55 Cold Springs Road, according to the arrest warrant in Bidwell’s case.
In exchange, Bidwell allegedly received two packs of cigarettes and 15 bags of heroin, the document states.
The gun was found during a search of Fazzino’s home on Aug. 24, according to police. It was wrapped in a blanket and hidden inside a box, police wrote in the warrant.
Police searched Fazzino’s home before charging him with a number of narcotics offenses, a firearm charge and one count of first-degree manslaughter. The manslaughter charge stemmed from the death of a 30-year-old Terryville woman in May. Police say Fazzino sold the woman heroin in the days leading up to her death.
Fazzino’s cases are still pending.
During the investigation, police found Fazzino had bought the shotgun from someone who goes by the street name “Fat Justin,” according to the warrant. Investigators identified the man as Bidwell, who admitted to selling the gun in late July or early August, the warrant said.
Bidwell told police he negotiated the sale over the phone before Fazzino sent another man to pick up the gun, police wrote in the warrant.
Justin Muszynski can be reached at 860-973-1809 or firstname.lastname@example.org.