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Three deaths related to drugs

March 26, 2004|by DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

Over a period of one year and five days, at least two young adults and one juvenile died in Franklin County of heroin-related overdoses and another suspected overdose is under investigation, law enforcement officials and Franklin County Coroner Jeffrey R. Conner said.

Another man's death was attributed to mixed-drug toxicity, Conner said.

Conner on Wednesday released the causes of death for three people which had been listed as undetermined for the past several months. Two of the cases were heroin-related, and another person died of a combination of methadone and prescription drugs, Conner said.

Between Feb. 20, 2003, and Feb. 25 of this year, Conner's office and law enforcement agencies have been investigating the deaths of the following people:

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  • Jennifer Robinson, 16, of 151 Chancellor Drive, was pronounced dead at Chambersburg Hospital after being found unconscious in her home Feb. 20, 2003, Pennsylvania State Police said. Toxicology tests later showed that she died of heroin toxicity, Conner said.

    Two people charged in her death, Heather Lee, 19, formerly of 21 W. Main St., Fayetteville, Pa., and James Snyder, 25, of 9 Larch Ave., Shippensburg, Pa., are scheduled to go on trial Monday, April 5, in U.S. District Court in Harrisburg, Pa., William Behe of the U.S. Attorney's Office, said last month.

    Each is charged with unlawful distribution of heroin and unlawful distribution of heroin resulting in the death of Robinson, according to the federal indictments. The latter charge carries a sentence of 20 years to life, Behe said.

  • Darla Janine Martin, 23, of 7165 Nyesville Road, Chambersburg, died of a heroin overdose in the Econo Lodge Motel outside Greencastle, Pa., Nov. 23, Conner said.

    In 2001, Martin was arrested for possession of heroin when she was found with eight vials of the drug and a syringe in her possession, according to court records. In 2002, she was sentenced to a year on probation, during which time she spent 90 days in an in-patient drug treatment program, court records stated.

    The investigation into Martin's death is ongoing and no charges have been filed, Trooper Eric Guyer said Thursday. Delivery of a controlled substance resulting in death carries a maximum penalty of 40 years, according to Pennsylvania law.

  • Michael E. Blubaugh, 25, of 5594 Fairway Drive West, Fayetteville, Pa., was discovered dead at his home Jan. 25. Conner said toxicology tests showed he died of a lethal mixture of heroin and alcohol.

    According to Franklin County Court records, Blubaugh had been sentenced Nov. 14, 2001, to 11 to 23 months in Franklin County Prison for possession with intent to deliver heroin. The sentence included another seven years of probation, court records stated.

    Guyer said the investigation into Blubaugh's death is ongoing and no charges have been filed.

  • Ashlee Renee Carbaugh, 20, of 116 W. Main St., Fayetteville, Pa., was found dead in her home Feb. 25. The autopsy in her case was inconclusive and Conner still is awaiting the results of toxicology tests.

    Carbaugh had abused heroin, her mother, Nicki Reasner, and mother-in-law, Wanda Reichard, said the day after her death.

    Five days before her death, Carbaugh was released from Franklin County Prison, where she had been serving a sentence for violating probation on a charge of criminal attempt to purchase cocaine, court records said.

  • Brent Johnson, 22, of 105 Sunnyside Ave., Waynesboro, Pa., was found dead in his home July 11, 2003, Waynesboro police said. Conner said Johnson died of mixed drug toxicity from methadone and prescription drugs.


Although methadone is a synthetic narcotic often used to treat heroin addiction, Conner said heroin played no role in Johnson's death and he had no knowledge that Johnson ever used the drug.

"He's never, ever did anything like that," said Barbara Fisher, who said her son was a good provider for his two children. "This was purely accidental."

Fisher did not know if her son, who had a heart murmur, had a prescription for any of the medications.

"I know it's an active investigation. No one's been charged" in connection with Johnson's death, Sgt. Ed Gebhart of the Waynesboro Police Department said Thursday.

Conner said he notified the families of Martin, Blubaugh and Johnson earlier this week of the results of the tests. He said the investigating agencies had determined that releasing the causes of death would not be an impediment to the investigations.

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