A former Madison Central High School student sentenced to 20 years in prison after being found guilty of second-degree murder in a drug overdose case was acquitted and will be re-sentenced on a drug trafficing charge, following a Mississippi Court of Appeals ruling last week.

Twenty-two-year-old Thomas Parker Rodenbaugh died on Aug. 10, 2014, after taking two doses of synthetic acid.

Skylar O’Kelly, 25, was found guilty in Oktibbeha County Circuit Court in August 2016 of second-degree murder and possession of a controlled Schedule 1 substance with intent to sell over 40 dosage units.

He was sentenced to 20 years, the minimum allowed for the murder charge and 10 years on the drug charge to run concurrently.

O’Kelly appealed, challenging the weight of the evidence.

Last Thursday, the Court of Appeals ruled there was insufficient evidence to support a conviction for either depraved-heart murder or culpable-negligence manslaughter.

The court upheld the drug trafficking conviction, remanding the case back to Circuit Court for re-sentencing on that conviction alone.

“We conclude that the evidence at trial was insufficient to establish either depraved-heart murder or culpable-negligence manslaughter,” the order read.

The appeals court used testimony from O’Kelly and friends during the trial which said Rodenbaugh had taken the same synthetic acid on prior occasions, and that O’Kelly took some from “the same sheet” that day.

“There is no evidence that O’Kelly, Rodenbaugh, or Daylin (O’Kelly) had experienced any adverse effects when using (synthetic LSD) previously, and O’Kelly testified that he did not know (synthetic LSD) was dangerous,” the order further stated.

“Indeed, on the night in question, O’Kelly himself took the same number of hits as Rodenbaugh.”

Skylar’s brother, Daylin, was initially arrested and charged with possession of a controlled Schedule I substance with intent to sell over 40 dosage units but that charge was later dropped.

All three were MCHS graduates and friends who lived in Starkville where Rodenbaugh was a junior at Mississippi State University.