Elma woman learns of her overturned conviction on the news
ELMA, Wash. – The State Supreme Court has unanimously thrown out an Elma woman’s conviction for controlled substances homicide due to a defect in the charging papers filed against her. Although someone forgot to tell Brenda Zillyette, she tells KBKW “I just heard it on the radio that the case was overturned, so I looked you up.”
She’s already done serving 36 months of a 55 month sentence, Zillyette was charged with providing Xanax and methadone that caused the overdose death of 18-year-old Austin Burrows in 2009. However, prosecutors didn’t specify what drugs she was accused of providing.
Now 4 years sober, she tells us “There will never be closure for me, that’s something I’m going to remember for the rest of my life.” She said she remains active in recovery, “I’m able to go in and tell my story to people, and hope that they learn something from it.
Because only certain drugs can support a charge of controlled substances homicide, the high court found that in effect, the charging papers didn’t necessarily accuse her of committing a crime. On Thursday the high court overturned the trial court that convicted her and the state appeals court panel that upheld the conviction, dismissing the charge against Zillyette.