This article was originally published on GoErie.com by Madeleine O’Neill on December 28, 2017
The case against a 17-year-old girl accused of delivering a fatal dose of drugs will be considered for transfer into adult court in January.
The girl was charged as a juvenile in November on counts including drug delivery resulting in death in the April death of a Millcreek Township woman. The Erie County District Attorney’s Office previously requested a hearing where a judge would consider whether the girl should be prosecuted as an adult.
Erie County President Judge John J. Trucilla has set the hearing for Jan. 11, court records show.
The prosecution will present evidence to show why it believes the teen “is not amenable to treatment, supervision or rehabilitation” in the juvenile system, according to the motion for a hearing filed by Assistant District Attorney Brian Krowicki.
The girl’s lawyer, Assistant Public Defender Emily Antolik, contested the prosecution’s request for a hearing in a response filed Dec. 7.
“While the current allegations of delinquency include felonies and are incredibly serious in nature, the basis of those charges alone do not make the Juvenile irreparably incorrigible and unable to be rehabilitated within the Juvenile system,” Antolik wrote.
Antolik also noted that the girl has no prior record and that, because she is 17 years old, the teen could receive more than three years of supervision within the juvenile system — juveniles found guilty, or adjudicated delinquent, in juvenile court must be released from supervision at age 21.
The first-degree felony count of drug delivery resulting in death carries a maximum of up to 40 years in state prison in adult court, Erie County District Attorney Jack Daneri has said. The teen also faces charges including aggravated assault, criminal use of a communication facility, possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, involuntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment.
The charges did not mandate an automatic transfer into adult court, as is the case with homicides and other violent crimes.
The case was filed in connection with the overdose death of Olivia Askins, 21, of Millcreek, who died at UPMC Hamot on April 27 after being found in cardiac arrest at her residence, according to police and the coroner’s report.
Askins had more than 10 times the lethal limit of fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid, in her system when she died, according to the report. The coroner’s office listed the death as an accident and the cause as “combined drug toxicity primarily involving fentanyl and cocaine.”
Investigators on Friday also charged 28-year-old Chester Lee Carr III, of Erie, with conspiracy and drug delivery resulting in death, among other charges, in the overdose.
Police located information on social media that included messages from Askins asking the 17-year-old girl to bring $45 worth of drugs to her residence, and from the girl stating she was outside of the residence minutes before Askins was found unresponsive on the morning of April 27, according to the affidavit of probable cause filed with the criminal complaint against Carr.
An Erie County detective also found several recorded telephone conversations between Carr, who was in the Erie County Prison, and the teenage girl, according to the affidavit. Carr gave the girl instructions regarding the location of his drug supply and how to sell it for him during calls between April 17 and May 1, investigators said.
He also instructed the girl to contact Askins to notify her that she would be the person to contact for further heroin sales while Carr was incarcerated, Millcreek police Cpl. Adam Hardner and Erie County Detective Sgt. Matt Benacci wrote in the affidavit.
The girl then initiated contact with Askins, according to the affidavit.
Carr is in the Erie County Prison on $250,000 bond. The juvenile is being held at the Edmund L. Thomas Juvenile Detention Center, according to court records.