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Jury Clears Gas Station, K2 Distributor in Royal Oak Man's Suicide

Vowing to appeal, family's attorney says: "For too many years, now, retailers and distributors of so-called synthetic marijuana have tried to dodge the law and their moral responsibilities while continuing to sell these dangerous products ..."

Synthetic marijuana, known as K2 and Spice, did not cause the suicide of John Anthony Sdao, a jury said Tuesday. (Patch file photo)
Synthetic marijuana, known as K2 and Spice, did not cause the suicide of John Anthony Sdao, a jury said Tuesday. (Patch file photo)

Synthetic marijuana, commonly called K2 or spice, wasn’t responsible for the suicide of a Royal Oak man who committed suicide after smoking the substance, an Oakland County Circuit Court jury said Tuesday after four hours of deliberations.

The family of John Anthony Sdao, 20, had sued Sara Corp., the owners of the Mobile gas station at 12 Mile and Campbell where Sdao bought the substance, and the distributors of the product, Yassmine Wholesalers.

The verdict, which came after a nearly two-trial, was not a surprise, Lee Ann Rutila, Yassmine Wholesaler’s attorney, told The Oakland Press. Sado killed himself at his home on April 11, 2012, by wrapping a belt around his neck.

When his  body was discovered, a K2 pipe was found next to his body, lawyers representing Sdao’s family said in a lawsuit, but Rutila said that didn’t prove the case.

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  • Would legalizing marijuana for recreational use curb the appeal of products such as K2 and Spice, or would create another, more serious set of problems?

“They were basically unable to say that the suicide really wouldn’t have happened otherwise,” Rutila said. “It could have happened with or without the K2. They couldn’t put that as being the contributing factor.”

Dean Kallas, the attorney for the gas station, said it never appeared to the defense that the suicide and the purchase of K2 were related, and the plaintiffs didn’t conclusively prove the K2 came from the Mobile station.

James Rasor, who represented the Sdao family, said his clients will appeal.

“For too many years, now, retailers and distributors of so-called synthetic marijuana have tried to dodge the law and their moral responsibilities while continuing to sell these dangerous products to the public, but especially to impressionable teens and young adults,” he said.

K2, which goes by a variety of names, was legal when Sado purchased it in April 2012, but the Royal Oak City Commission passed an emergency ordinance banning the sale of the synthetic marijuana substances in June 2012.

Commissioners cited high-profile crimes involving youths because the drug was so easily obtained.

At the time, Royal Oak Police Chief Corrigan O'Donohue said products such as K2 and Spice are marketed to appeal to teens.

"They use very colorful packaging," O'Donohue said. "There’s no doubt that it is something that young people gravitate to as something they believe is a legal alternative to marijuana."
Nunov Yerbidnis June 18, 2014 at 11:10 AM
K2 is already illegal in Michigan. It has been this way for a few years.
Bob June 18, 2014 at 04:00 PM
Bloody 'ell Jack, learn to read. A proposal for what? Jack, your comment makes no sense. This chemical laced potpurri is already illegal.
Bob June 18, 2014 at 04:03 PM
What's with these parents? Why do they sue people over the suicide of their kid? Me thinks they can't stand the fact that a bigger problem was in their own mirror.
l.c. June 24, 2014 at 05:05 PM
maybe K2 is the bigger problem-cut the parents some slack.they should know more than yourself about their own son-no?
RON Ostrodamus June 26, 2014 at 08:20 PM
Remember the godfather movie where the new mobsters wanting to making a buck off the Harlem heroin trade state that as long as they sell it to their own kind who cares? As long as their kids don't use it these anything for a buck creeps, and I mean "anything" simply do not care. As far as they are concerned they are not breaking the law. When the law fails the next step is a civil suit. This is not only legal it is the right thing to do.

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