A young man died of a drug overdose at Tommy S. Basco’s Boise home last October — but instead of reporting it, Basco had the 19-year-old’s body dumped at a local park.
Charles Peyton Chambers, a 2015 Boise High graduate who worked at local restaurants and aspired to go to culinary school, was left in a car parked at Hyatt Hidden Lakes Reserve; a passer-by discovered him Oct. 26 and notified police.
Basco, who pleaded guilty to failure to notify authorities of a death, was sentenced Thursday to 10 years in prison, including five before he’s eligible for parole. He received 231 days credit for time served.
Basco also is facing a federal charge in connection with Chambers’ death. In May, he was indicted on suspicion of distribution of methamphetamine that resulted in death.
Fourth District Judge Nancy Baskin cited numerous aggravating factors in the failure-to-notify case. Instead of seeking medical help when Chambers appeared to be overdosing on heroin, Basco put him in a bathtub of cold water and injected him with meth. He showed off Chambers’ body to others in an apparent attempt to intimidate them. He allowed Chambers’ personal items to be ransacked; his car was packed because he was moving to Utah. He staged the death at another location.
“You did not want the amount of drugs at your house to be discovered [by police],” Baskin told Basco.
She said the quantity of drugs that investigators found in his home was evidence that he hadn’t just slipped up due to high levels of stress from work, as his attorney asserted last October.
The victim’s parents, Allison High-Chambers, of Salt Lake City, and Charles “Chip” Chambers III, of Boise, gave emotional statements in court. His father spoke of dreams displaced by regrets.
“I hope no one treats anyone’s kid like my kid was treated. I’m never going to be the same,” Chip Chambers told Baskin. “I’m never going to get over it.”
On the advice of his attorney, Basco did not speak in court Thursday, other than to say that he hopes he’s never in a similar situation again — and if he were, it would go differently. He has four young children. His attorney said he’s very remorseful and could not imagine losing a child.
An Ada County deputy prosecutor said the coroner determined that Chambers died from a lethal dose of methamphetamine — enough to kill four people. The heroin in Chambers’ system was not at a lethal level, he said.
Basco was convicted in 2008 of felony possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver. He spent time in jail and completed probation in 2015. He was charged with robbery the same month Chambers died, but that was later dismissed.