This article was originally published on GoErie.com by Madeleine O’Neill on August 13, 2018
Jury selection is set to begin Monday in the trial of an Erie man accused of directing, from prison, a drug delivery that led to a Millcreek Township woman’s fatal overdose.
It is the first in a recent series of drug-death prosecutions to reach a trial.
The defendant, Chester L. Carr III, 29, will face charges of conspiracy, possession with intent to deliver and drug delivery resulting in death at the trial before Erie County Judge William R. Cunningham.
Carr is accused of directing the delivery of a fatal dose of drugs to 21-year-old Olivia Askins, who died on the morning of April 27, 2017.
Askins died at UPMC Hamot after being found in cardiac arrest at her East Aringlinton Road residence, according to police and the coroner’s report. She had more than 10 times the lethal limit of fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid, in her system when she died, according to the report.
Investigators charged that Carr directed a co-defendant, 18-year-old Jaida L. Stewart, to deliver the drugs while he was incarcerated at the Erie County Prison.
Stewart was 17 years old when she was charged with drug delivery resulting in death in the case. She did not object to a petition from prosecutors to move her case into adult court in January and is awaiting prosecution on the charges.
Millcreek police charged that Carr told Stewart the location of his drug supply and how to sell it for him, and that he told Stewart to contact Askins and inform her that she would be the person to contact for further heroin sales, according to the criminal complaint.
Police also said Askins’ laptop computer showed Facebook communication between Askins and a person later identified as Stewart about purchasing narcotics.
In one conversation that began on the evening of April 26, 2017, Askins asked to purchase $50 worth of drugs, according to testimony from Carr’s preliminary hearing in March.
Assistant District Attorney Paul Sellers is prosecuting Carr’s case.
Carr remains in the Erie County Prison on $250,000 bond. He is represented by Erie lawyer Keith Clelland, who is court-appointed.
Authorities have charged 10 people with drug delivery resulting in death in eight fatal overdoses in Erie and Crawford counties since August 2017.