When Debbie Hurd talks about her son, she can't help but smile. She describes Matthew Gordon Scott, who died last year after an overdose of methylone provided by a state lawmaker's son, as someone with a big personality.
Although Scott been gone for over a year, there are traces of him all over the house, little memorials in wall photos and figurines.
"You always noticed him in a picture because he always stood right out," Hurd said, pointing Scott out in a photo at a Halloween gathering. "You know, the life of the party."
Scott has a lot of life in his photos. He's smiling or making a funny face in almost every photo of him at Hurd's home in Wasilla. She and Scott's father, Dan Scott, keep some of his ashes in a box on a table with other objects dedicated to his memory, like a smiling frog figurine Hurd says they bought because Matt always liked smiley faces.
"My son was a very outgoing, fun-loving kid -- you know, everybody liked Matt," Hurd said.
Scott was just 20-years-old when federal prosecutors say he became the first Alaskan to die from an overdose of methylone, a synthetic drug also known as "molly."
After Scott's death, his dealer -- 20-year-old Robin Gattis, the son of state Rep. Lynn Gattis (R-Wasilla) -- pleaded guilty in August to importing and distributing methylone, as the ringleader of a conspiracy to do so.
Prosecutors say Gattis and the six other people he worked with, all of whom have also entered guilty pleas on various federal charges, imported methylone from China for between $4 and $6 per gram. The federal indictment says Gattis put the powder he bought into capsules and sold it in 15-milligram capsules for $10 to $15 each.
According to court documents, Scott's overdose occurred at an April 15, 2012 party, which he and Gattis co-hosted at Scott's Anchorage home on Lake Otis Parkway. A sentencing memorandum for Gattis includes a text message he sent the next day after prosecutors say he left Scott to die, telling others to check on him without calling the paramedics who later found his body.
"(H)is knees were turning blue which is an early sign of overdose so I made him stop and lay down and let everything wear off," Gattis wrote.
As the wheels of justice turn, the emerging details on the case have been hard for Hurd to hear.
"That just breaks my heart," Hurd said. "When I read that, it just broke my heart -- nobody helping, nobody."
Hurd says she sometimes still feels her son's presence, remembering when she found a picture of him as a child at Easter. Scott looked to be in grade school, wearing bunny ears and holding his hands like bunny paws. Hurd says she'd forgotten about the photo until she was searching for pictures for his funeral.
"I just burst out smiling when I see this picture because that was the spirit of my son, and I just couldn't believe it, and I know that was Matt making me laugh," Hurd said.
Remember her son is bittersweet for Hurd. She smiles to remember the lively young man, but cries to think of how she lost him.
When Gattis is sentenced on Thursday, Hurd hopes he owns up to his part in her son's early death.
"When Matt was overdosing, he didn't do the right thing," Hurd said.