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Author Topic: man found guilty of selling fatal dose of heroin  (Read 1568 times)


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man found guilty of selling fatal dose of heroin
« on: January 17, 2016, 12:03:54 PM »
Mt. Pleasant man found guilty of selling fatal dose of heroin[/size]Read more: us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook

[/size]A Mt. Pleasant man on Friday became the first person to be convicted in Westmoreland County under a law passed in 2011 to prosecute drug dealers who sell illegal substances that cause fatal overdoses.
[/size]After more than five hours of deliberations, a jury of eight women and four men found Michael Ulysses Peterson guilty of a felony count of drug delivery resulting in death, conspiracy and other related drug offenses.
[/size]Peterson, 42, was charged with selling at least three packets of heroin two years ago to 45-year-old Samuel Christner, who died Feb. 5, 2014, in the bathroom of his Unity home from a drug overdose.
[/size]“Hopefully, this will send a message to warn people. We will seek treatment and support for drug addicts, but on the other hand, if people are going to spread the misery of drugs and cause deaths, we'll seek a penalty for that,” District Attorney John Peck said.
[/size]“Mr. Peterson said he's an addict, so he's familiar with that misery, but it still didn't stop him from spreading that misery,” Peck said shortly after the guilty verdict was announced.
[/size]Peterson could face up to 40 years in prison for the conviction when he is sentenced later this year by Westmoreland County Judge Meagan Bilik-DeFazio.
[/size]Peterson is the second person to be prosecuted in the county for selling drugs that resulted in a death.
[/size]In September, a Westmoreland County jury acquitted a Wilkinsburg man who was accused of selling a fatal dose of heroin to a man who died in a Hempfield motel in 2012.
[/size]In that case, the prosecution argued unsuccessfully that Kyland Napper, 22, sold a fatal dose of heroin to 20-year-old Sage Capozzi. Napper's case was based in part on what his defense attorney claimed was unreliable eyewitness testimony from Capozzi's girlfriend, who testified she saw the drug transaction.
[/size]In the Peterson case that concluded Friday, the prosecution relied on testimony from a co-defendant who told jurors he helped arrange the drug deal with Christner and was present when the transaction occurred.
[/size]During the five-day trial, the prosecution described Peterson as a drug dealer who peddled heroin to Christner on the day he died.
[/size]Witnesses testified that Peterson and another man, Garrin Ulrich-Stiffler, 27, of Youngwood set up a drug deal at a Sheetz in Youngwood to sell three packets of heroin to Christner for $50.
[/size]Ulrich-Stiffler is awaiting trial on similar charges.
[/size]Earlier in the trial, jurors heard testimony from Pittsburgh forensic pathologist Cyril Wecht that Christner died from a heroin overdose and that no other drugs contributed to his death.
[/size]During his closing argument to the jury, Peck said that Christner would not have died were it not for the heroin sold by Peterman.
[/size]“The evidence is absolutely clear and certain that the defendant sold Samuel Christner these drugs. Samuel Christner went directly home, got a syringe and shot himself up,” Peck said.
[/size]Defense attorney Michael DeMatt argued that Christner was a troubled man who might have died from a combination of drugs, including alcohol, as well as from inhaling chemicals from aerosol cans.
[/size]DeMatt also suggested that testimony from a defense-hired expert indicated that Christner might have developed a tolerance to heroin and that he did not ingest enough of the drugs to cause his death.
[/size]Toxicologists working for the prosecution did not adequately test Christner's blood for traces of other drugs, DeMatt argued.
[/size]“This guy (Christner) was not feeling very good. He didn't like Pennsylvania. He didn't like the weather. He was depressed, and lo and behold, later that day, he was dead,” DeMatt said.
[/size]He told jurors that it couldn't have been a coincidence that bags of heroin found near Christner's body were stamped with an identical brand name on drugs discovered by police in Peterson's possession when he was arrested that same day for an incident in Greensburg.
[/size]“It doesn't mean it was sold to him by Michael Peterson,” DeMatt said.[/size]

Offline Fentfiend420

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Re: man found guilty of selling fatal dose of heroin
« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2016, 01:15:13 PM »
I can see if the dude cut it with some bs.
But it wasn't the dealers fault imo.
The od was most likely the guys fault.
Sometimes us junkies take it to far.
It's a shame...
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Re: man found guilty of selling fatal dose of heroin
« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2016, 02:25:04 PM »
It's kind of insane really. Imagine if a gun store owner was charged with Murder if a client kills himself.  Or worse, with terrorism for a client who buys a gun and uses it for a killing rampage. A convenience store owner who could be charged with rape for a drunk who buys beer from him and then rapes a woman once he was drunk.

Somehow it is acceptable for heroin sellers to have the above apply to them on the other hand.  I could see them wanting to punish people that adulterate with dangerous substances, or cut it with fentanyl to increase profits with no consideration of the potential lethality of his mix.  That they extended it to every heroin dealer ever is insane.

For something that effects all of us, how about the middle-man who just gets an extra bag out of scoring for other people. The law says that he is a dealer, and this law says that he can be charged with murder if the dude who scored through him dies.  How does that make any sense?  How about some compassion for the situations that addiction forces people into.

I think that is a bit of the problem.  Joe Public doesn't understand how addiction can force someone into doing something, or at least leave them feeling they have little choice, and making it easier to justify things that they would never consider when they were sober.  That makes it pretty easy to make them universally responsible and universally reviled.  It is ironic that they tell people they have a choice not to use drugs, but don't see the same viewpoint for the person selling drugs. 

Maybe there is just a lack of advocacy for heroin users.  This kind of thing is only dealt with in court, and it is hard to fix the problem at that point.  People won't stand up before then and say, "I'm a heroin dealer, and this is wrong for the following reason." for pretty obvious reasons.  I would love to see an ngo step up and advocate for this less desirable marginalised population.

Hopefully they can get this ridiculous shit overturned in appeals.  That is definitely the arena for this kind of thing, and it seems quite black and white wrong to me. If not wrong, then at the very least of questionable ethics.

Fingers crossed for a bit of justice finally.

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Re: man found guilty of selling fatal dose of heroin
« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2016, 03:06:49 PM »
I don't agree with this law at all, and it is sad to see people get life sentences. It is unrealistic to think that if this person didn't sell him the drugs that he wouldn't of been able to obtain some and have similar results. I don't think you can consider it spreading misery if the person buying is already addicted, if you are selling to kids thats a different story. It kind of is the opposite really your are spreading temporary warmth, and bliss.

Idk if the dealer being a user makes it better or worse to be charged. Neither should be charged, there is just a tiny bit more justification then simply profiting. Either way it is something tragic, that more than likely could of been prevented had it been legal, or if treatment and harm reduction practices were used instead of abstinence or incarceration.  If we imprisoned all of the people who profited at the expense of others everyone would be in prison.

If it were my son who died I wouldn't want the dealer thrown in prison for life unless intentionally spiked it. I don't get how throwing away another life is justified in anyway. An eye for an eye is not justice. Revenge is pretty much never the right thing to do. We are one of the only countries with the death penalty and we also give life without parole sentences out like candy. I am okay with it for pedophiles, kid killers, and mass murders. I just don't think I could ever be okay with killing someone, I don't think I have the right to judge people and make that choice.

I don't think murder deserves a life without parole sentence, it should harbor a long sentence, as a consequence but the main goal should be rehabilitating that person unless it's not possible. I see a lot of dudes in prison for life that have been there for 40 years because of something they did when they were 18. A guy and a woman who goto my clinic both did a 35-45 year sentence. They are both older and you would never expect that from looking at them. Looks can be deceiving but you usually don't see a 70 yr old woman as a murderer.

Their stories are very similar and sad, they are both hispanic, and got into the gang life and started shooting up dope around 13. The guy shot a guy over a bad drug deal and the woman killed a guy with another man during a robbery gone bad. They are both truly remorseful and most of the older guys who have been locked up 20+ years are. I don't think they would kill again and if they did it would probably be caused by being institutionalized. I guess it is hard to balance public safety and allowing the chance at rehabilitation.

Death penalty cases are actually more expensive to prosecute and uphold then life w/o. That seems dumb but we have to have that many safe guards in place to prove that the person is guilty to justify killing them. What sucks is that they still get it wrong, and pretty much we aren't presumed innocent any more and the burden of proof has shifted its weight on to the defendant.

Everyone should watch Shadow of a Doubt about Vincent Simmons and the only reason he was charged and convicted is because he is black. He has been in Angola State prison for 38 years for something he didn't do. He has tons of evidence to prove his innocence but the same things that are supposed to be deterring us from wrongful convictions are what is keeping him from having his appeals granted. That and his racist judge is was the DA or prosecuted him in the original trial.

What are you guys thoughts on life w/o parole and death penalty sentences. I think I have seen to many people incarcerated or wrongfully convicted, to think that they are okay.  It is so sad seeing all of those people 18 and under who have gotten life without sentences. There are so many of them and people who are in their because of the 3 strikes laws. At the same time I have no sympathy for a pedophile, and wouldn't care what they did to that person.

I am torn on the issue, because I don't think the government has the right to kill someone it seems stupid to me that the law is you can't kill anyone but if you do we can kill you. I have a warped view though, I am not a fan of the government, I agree with laws and regulations that actually affect public safety but I just don't think the government should have that kind of power especially when they make the laws but don't
abide by them and if someones views are different that they should be killed or stuck in a cage until they die it is the balance of public safety.

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Re: man found guilty of selling fatal dose of heroin
« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2016, 07:23:20 PM »
I live about 20mins away from Mt Pleasant
We've had a bunch of people in the area OD and die on H laced with Fent
So my guess is they're "making an example" out of the dealer
PA laws are so fucked up to begin with

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Re: man found guilty of selling fatal dose of heroin
« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2016, 08:38:49 PM »
This is super common in a county right outside of the city known as dupage. They use this all the fucking time against people, I'm talking about people that just act as middlemen, maybe ride to the city and cop with a friend because he has the cash and ride, and u have the hook. No biggie? Hardly....

It turns into "drug included homicide" for anyone that sold that heroin in the pipeline that lead to the death. In the example I mentioned u could get charged, ur dealer and anyome else they can prove had anything to do with it.

It's a fucking disaster but really, in my opinion, it's just YET ANOTHER REASON for regulation and monitoring, I believe if there were clean sources of heroin, dr.s overseeing the amounts given, and consuling and etc involved, just like a methadone clinic, NONE of this shit would happen. Though, between federal funding, asset forfeiture, and giant sentences like this the locals have zero desire for this problem to go away any time soon. They profit FAR FAR too much from it....

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Re: man found guilty of selling fatal dose of heroin
« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2016, 01:37:45 AM »
God forbid that they ask a heroin user if his dealer should be charged with murder if he dies. There is no way in hell, maybe one out of one hundred would say yes.
Fear and self loathing in thoms.

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Re: man found guilty of selling fatal dose of heroin
« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2016, 02:07:03 AM »
Yeah. Pure insanity. Like Z was saying up a the top, if you applied the same logic to other cases, you'd end up having to charge the parents of the victim in a murder case, because if they hadn't borne that child, then there would have been no murder. Nobody would have gotten killed. Therefore, obviously the parents are responsible for someone dying!

Seems logical to me.
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Re: man found guilty of selling fatal dose of heroin
« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2016, 01:11:36 PM »
Thoms is exactly right unless the dealer is charging 500 a g I think most users see them as anyone else out there just making money and don't wish any ill will towards them. Unfortunately even if the person doesn't want them to be charged the state will charge them. The first time I got arrested the girl who told the police when they were at her work pleaded with the cops and judge not to charge me because it was a Harrassment charge for me texting her without any intent or purpose of actual conversation while we were breaking up.

The judge told her in court that unfortunately it is the state that is charging me not her so she doesn't have a say in it. That was the exact moment I knew I was fucked and told the DA i would take a plea that got me out of jail today cause i was w/d my face off. Horrible idea, because I could of beat it even with a public defender. I thought it was all bs and that i'd be walking out that day until the judge let her know that this is about the state making money they don't give a shit about the victim.

Gotta love our justice system. I hope this kid gets off and that motions are put in place to stop this shit from happening. It isn't like he shot a dude up who had never done an opiate while he was sleeping. I don't get people and how we so easily exchange justice for revenge and corrections for punishment as it suits are needs. I get being pissed and sad about having family die to an OD and wanting answers and somewhere to place the blame. Blaming the person who is trying to make money and has no ulterior motive is dumb.

It is sick when the parents of the person is blaming the dealer trying to turn it into a death penalty case and shit. It is sad but I'd assume more blame lies on the parent then the dealer. I understand wanting answers but that just seems to me like trying to keep the pointed finger away from them. I don't think locking anyone up, is going to fix the problem or bring the person back. They are looking for revenge in the wrong places most the blame lies on the people of the govt and judicial system, they should have to try themselves before a dealer.


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