W.Va. man charged in heroin death

September 03, 2005|By CANDICE BOSELY


A Harpers Ferry, W.Va., man has been charged with murder after police allege he twice injected heroin into the arm of a man found dead Thursday inside a room at the Towne House Motor Lodge in Charles Town, police said.

Richard Allen Ashbaugh, 37, whose address was listed as a post office box in Harpers Ferry, also was charged with distribution of heroin, court records state.

Police started investigating the case after a 911 call was placed Thursday around 5:50 p.m. for a reported overdose. Police and medical personnel responded to room 344 of the motel and found Jonathan Parks, 26, of Brunswick, Md., on the floor facedown between two beds, records state.


Parks was pronounced dead at the scene, said Detective Lt. Steve Harris of the Charles Town Police Department.

Harris, the lead investigator, was able to speak to several people who had been in the motel room, including Parks' girlfriend, Ashbaugh, Ashbaugh's girlfriend and two other women.

The names of all of the women were withheld.

According to the witnesses' statements, Parks and his girlfriend asked Ashbaugh on Thursday morning to obtain heroin for them. After receiving $60, Ashbaugh went to Baltimore and bought heroin from an unknown source, records state.

He returned to the motel room with four $15 capsules of heroin. The heroin was inside small pill capsules, similar to those used for over-the-counter medicines, Harris said.

Ashbaugh and his girlfriend both injected heroin into themselves, and Parks requested heroin be injected into him as well. Before being injected, Parks said that he had taken two Xanax pills, police said.

Ashbaugh injected half of a capsule of heroin into Parks' arm and another half after Parks said the first shot produced no effect, police said.

"Shortly thereafter, the decedent 'nodded off' and rested face down between the beds," Harris wrote in a two-page criminal complaint.

People were coming in and out of the room, but eventually only Parks and his girlfriend were present. After Parks' girlfriend took a shower, she found Parks dead and called 911, police said.

A used heroin capsule with heroin residue in it was found in a garbage can in the room, police said.

"During interviews, it was learned that the decedent had a prior history of heroin use, however it was advised that he had never used it via injection, rather had snorted it. It is common knowledge that when injected, heroin produces a more potent result versus snorting it," Harris wrote in court records.

Ashbaugh agreed to speak to police and admitted to buying the heroin, but said he did not inject it into Parks' arm. He said he had given Parks a spoon and lighter to "fix" - or liquefy - the heroin, Harris said.

Ashbaugh is being held in Eastern Regional Jail without bail.

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