ROCKLAND — A Knox County jury deliberated for nearly 90 minutes Sept. 15, before acquitting a 34-year-old Bangor woman of a Class A aggravated trafficking in drugs charge that led to the death of a Rockland man 16 months ago.

The jury also found Audria Ariza not guilty of two other lesser drug charges, but convicted the Bangor woman of the lesser charge of Class C furnishing drugs.

Ariza remains free on bail. A sentencing date has not been scheduled. The maximum sentence for furnishing drugs is five years in prison. The maximum is rarely imposed.

The charges stem from the May 13, 2020, death of 38-year-old Raymond F. Merrifield in Rockland. The state alleged that Ariza provided the methadone that contributed to Merrifield’s death.

An affidavit filed with in the Knox County court last year by Rockland Police Sgt. Alex Gaylor states Merrifield died from accidental acute intoxication from the combined effects of methadone and clonazepam.

The affidavit stated police found Facebook messages between Merrifield and Ariza, where she talks about providing her take-home methadone to him. She met with Merrifield in Hope, after she picked up her take-home dosage of methadone May 10, 2020.

The maximum sentence for Class A aggravated trafficking connected to a death would have been 30 years in prison. The jury also acquitted Ariza of aggravated furnishing and unlawful trafficking in drugs.

The jury trial began Sept. 13. Justice Bruce Mallonee presided over the trial. Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Baroody prosecuted the case. Ariza was represented by attorney Jeff Silverstein of Bangor.

Ariza testified Sept. 15 that she gave some of her take-home methadone to Merrifield, but said she diluted it with vitamin water. She denied selling the drugs to him. Ariza and Merrifield knew each other most of their lives and had a child together, she testified.

Merrifield’s obituary stated he had many different jobs through the years and at the time of his passing, he worked at Park Street Grille.

He was passionate about music and loved playing his guitar, building onto his extensive record collection and going to concerts with his friends. Merrifield was also a talented writer and wrote many short stories through the years.

He loved to read and was in the middle of the “Outlander” series at the time of his death. Despite all his interests, the thing he loved most in this world was spending time with his children, his family noted.