A man from Mounds View was on Tuesday sentenced to seven and a half years for the drug death of a 43-year-old woman he met on Tinder.
Edward Antonio Zappa, 40, will spend five years in St. Louis. Cloud jailed and two and a half years on supervised probation for overdosing on Thea Renae Toles with GHB during a date in 2019. He was convicted by Ramsey County District Court Judge David Brown and credited with 256 days of imprisonment.
“I feel like my sister recently went through a breakup and she wanted someone to be there and not judge her,” said Ruth Toles, Thea’s younger sister, about Thea’s decision to meet Zappa through the online dating app . “She was loved by her family.”
Ruth Toles brought a picture of her sister to the hearing, and she said Zappa’s verdict was too light for the loss she and her family have suffered.
The Ramsey County Attorney’s Office argued for 129 months or 10 years. The defense cast Toles as a willing contestant who agreed to meet Zappa alone at his home.
According to the criminal complaint, Toles met Zappa on Thanksgiving Day, November 28, 2019. Text messages show that Toles told Zappa that he would give “smoker” and GHB, also known as the date rape drug.
He called 911 the next day to tell her she was not breathing. At the time, he told police he was not aware Toles had taken drugs. Police reported that Toles appeared to have been dead for several hours.
Ramsey County Medical Examiner found that she had 340 mcg / ml GHB in her system. GHB levels greater than 260 mct / ml may cause deep sleep or coma. The medical examiner assessed that the cause of death was GHB toxicity.
Zappa was originally charged with third-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter. He pleaded guilty on August 10 to manslaughter. The murder charge was dismissed.
Zappa has six previous criminal convictions, including assault, drugs, domestic violence, theft and burglary.