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Man sentenced to 15 years for fentanyl-related death of La Jolla woman

Court gavel
(File)

Joshua Breslow pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in the 2020 death of Sally Manchester Ricchiuti, daughter of developer Doug Manchester.

A man who sold fentanyl-laced pills that led to the death of a La Jolla woman was sentenced July 28 to 15 years in state prison.

Joshua Alan Breslow, 54, pleaded guilty in June to voluntary manslaughter and drug possession charges for providing pills that led to the death of Sally Manchester Ricchiuti, 49, on Sept. 18, 2020. She was the daughter of developer Doug Manchester, former owner of The San Diego Union-Tribune.

Prosecutors alleged that Breslow, who was previously charged with murder in the case, provided Ricchiuti and others with doctored pills, despite being aware of the potentially fatal consequences.

“She thought she was buying legitimate pharmaceuticals, and in fact Mr. Breslow was selling her fentanyl-laced pills,” according to San Diego County Deputy District Attorney Joel Madero.

After Breslow’s arrest in connection with Ricchiuti’s death, he bailed out of jail and continued dealing pills, Madero said. The prosecutor also alleged that Breslow falsely assured his customers that he had tested his pills to ensure they didn’t contain fentanyl and reached out to a source in order to secure doctored lab results.

In a statement at his sentencing hearing, Breslow called Ricchiuti “one of my best and closest friends” and said “not a day goes by when I don’t feel contrition.” He apologized to her family.

Though he said the time he has spent in jail has been “grueling’’ and a “brutal experience,” Breslow said, “I deserve it.”

Sally Manchester Ricchiuti
(Courtesy photo)

Doug Manchester said his daughter “remains with us each and every day.” He said he had “a tough time with all of this, especially when Sally was taken from us and you were arrested and went out on bail and you repeatedly distributed deadly fentanyl to others.”

Manchester said the family was “very happy that you will not be able to do that for a very, very long time.’'

Ricchiuti’s mother, Betsy Manchester, asked Breslow whether he had considered the ramifications of selling a dangerous and deadly substance to someone he called a friend.

“You not only took her life, you betrayed her trust and her vulnerability as a friend and left us all with deeply wounded hearts,’' she said.

Molly Ricchiuti, the victim’s eldest daughter, called her mother “my best friend” and “a beautiful, vivacious soul lost to a world that so desperately needs her type of spirit.”

Molly Ricchiuti said her mother “believed in forgiveness,’' and “for her sake, I forgive you.”

According to an obituary, Sally Manchester Ricchiuti graduated from La Jolla High School in 1988 and the University of Colorado four years later. She eventually returned to San Diego, married her high school sweetheart and had three children.

— The San Diego Union-Tribune contributed to this report.