Dealer Sentenced in Fentanyl Death

GOLDEN, Colo. (May 9, 2024) – Brock Troy Nieuwendorp was sentenced yesterday to 26 years in the Department of Corrections for distributing fentanyl that killed twenty-five-year-old Catherine “Kate” Hackim on April 29, 2023. Nieuwendorp pleaded guilty earlier this year to Distribution Resulting in Death, and as a result of his plea, he faced 8-32 years in prison.

In a heart-wrenching statement to the court, Hackim’s mother expressed the unbearable pain of losing a child, “There is nothing in this world that could hurt more than losing a child,” … “The best I can do is just try to survive each day.” Family and friends described Kate’s kindness, intelligence, and love for animals, while each expressed how deeply she was loved and missed. They highlighted the tragedy and shock of her death, as it was just as her life seemed to be falling into place—she was active in recovery, had fallen in love, gained employment, and was in school pursuing a neuroscience degree. “She experienced a mix of successes and failures, as many in recovery do, but she continued to fight her way forward.” Hackim’s family urged the court to impose a sentence long enough to send a loud and clear message to all individuals fueling and profiting from the fentanyl crisis.

Prosecutors argued for the maximum sentence, noting Nieuwendorp’s ten prior felony convictions, his repeated failure at community-based supervision, and his most recent Denver case, where he was arrested for possession of drugs and a firearm months after Hackim’s death. Unlike Nieuwendorp, Hackim “never fed her addiction by selling drugs; instead, her involvement in the recovery community made her a beacon of hope, serving as a role model to others who struggled as she did.”

Nieuwendorp also had a support network that spoke of the traumas he experienced throughout his life and told the court how his addiction began with a knee injury and a prescription for Oxycontin. Nieuwendorp himself later addressed the court and the victim’s family, expressing remorse and regret, “My heart hurts so deeply for my victim and her family.”

Sentencing Nieuwendorp to 26 years in prison, District Court Judge Christopher Zenisek highlighted the critical distinction between suffering from addiction and engaging in actions that actively harm others, noting that while both the victim and defendant battled addiction, “they chose to react to their addictions in starkly different ways.” The Court also emphasized Nieuwendorp’s lengthy criminal history and recent arrest, stating that the defendant’s actions were destined to cause harm to somebody, if not to Hackim, to somebody else. “Where does the addiction end, and the responsibility begin? Part of the answer is when people get hurt, and definitely when people die.”

Statement from the Hackim family:

“We’re so grateful for the care our daughter’s case received over the past year from law enforcement, the prosecution team, our victim’s advocate, and the judge. We’re still grieving the loss of our beloved Kate, but we take great comfort in knowing that the community Kate loved will be a safer place for many years to come. We hope that this case will serve as a deterrent to those individuals considering dealing or using fentanyl and will bring us one step closer to Kate’s dream of building a world that humanizes, cares for, and protects those who suffer from addiction. Kate would be proud of those who fought on her behalf and would appreciate the justice she received.”

The investigation by the Lakewood Police Department revealed text messages and Cash App records of Nieuwendorp selling small amounts of fentanyl to the victim on numerous occasions dating back to February 2023, including on the date of her death. Hackim’s cause of death was listed as accidental due to combined drug intoxication. For more details on the investigation, see the original press release here.