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Man charged in Shawnee teen's fentanyl poisoning death found not guilty by jury

cooper davis fentanyl overdose
Posted at 3:36 PM, May 09, 2024

OLATHE, Kan. — The man charged in a Shawnee teen’s fentanyl poisoning death has been found not guilty by a Johnson County jury.

After more than two hours of deliberating, the jury found Aaron Hansberry, 29, not guilty of distribution of a controlled substance causing great bodily harm or death charges on Thursday.

In October, the KSHB 41 I-Team learned Hansberry was arrested and charged in connection to 16-year-old Cooper Davis’ death.

Cooper’s family said he died after taking half of what he thought was a Percocet pill in August of 2021. It turned out to be a fake that contained fentanyl.

Court documents previously obtained by the I-Team, along with Cooper's friends and girlfriend, testified to him meeting Hansberry outside of a store in Kansas City, Missouri, in August of 2021, then going to a house to buy synthetic marijuana.

At some point on the drive back, Cooper's friends and court documents said Hansberry also sold the group two blue pills they thought were Percocet.

The group went back to a friend's house to split the pills in Shawnee. Cooper's friends survived, but Cooper did not.

Cooper was transported to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The Johnson County Medical Examiner's Office performed an autopsy on Cooper and discovered his cause of death was acute fentanyl toxicity.

Hansberry's attorney did not have a statement to share following Thursday's verdict.

Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe provided a statement Thursday afternoon to KSHB 41 News.

"We are disappointed in this verdict," Howe said in the statement. "However, I would like to thank the DEA and Drug Task force, and the prosecutors for their hard work on this case. Cooper’s family has done amazing work in this community and we will continue to fight hard with them to reduce the number of overdose deaths that result from fentanyl."

The I-Team has reached out to Cooper's family, who provided the following response:

"We are devastated that we could not get justice for Cooper and get a poison peddler off the streets. We hope that this experience will help equip the DA’s office with tools to be successful in future cases that can bring justice to other families. We will continue to use Cooper’s story for GOOD and keep reminding others that awareness is our #1 defense."