STONEBORO — A Hempfield Township man has been charged in connection with the drug overdose death of a Stoneboro man.
Andrew Thomas Delucia Jr., 44, is being held in Mercer County Jail on $250,000 bond. He is accused of selling heroin in May to Michael Grinnell.
Delucia is charged by state police with criminal use of a communication facility, aggravated assault, simple assault, drug delivery resulting in death, and manufacture, delivery or possession of a controlled substance with intent to manufacture or deliver.
After a preliminary hearing Wednesday, District Judge Douglas Straub, of Pine Township, ordered the charges held for court, sending the case to Mercer County Common Pleas Court.
State police were called on May 14 to a home in Stoneboro, where a man identified as Grinnell, was found unresponsive in a bathroom, police said in court documents.
Grinnell was taken to AHN Grove City hospital for a drug overdose, where he was pronounced dead. The autopsy indicated that Grinnell had high levels of methamphetamine and fentanyl in his system.
The official cause and manner of death is an accidental drug overdose.
Police recovered a brown satchel containing drug paraphernalia from the home and interviewed the victim’s father, Richard Grinnell, who said that he had been driving his son to and from small construction jobs.
On May 14, the elder Grinnell drove his son to a job site about 10 minutes outside of Mercer. After work, they both returned to Richard Grinnell’s Stoneboro home for lunch.
Richard Grinnell then left to help a neighbor; his son stayed behind, saying that he would come over in about five minutes after using the computer.
Michael Grinnell did not make it to the neighbor’s home after 10 minutes, so his father went back to check on him.
Michael Grinnell had himself locked in a bathroom, and his father had to force his way in. He called 911 after finding his son unresponsive.
The elder Grinnell told the police that his son always had the brown satchel with him and didn’t allow his father to open it.
Michael Grinnell had been using a phone that belongs to a relative. The owner consented to a search, and police found several text messages sent prior to Grinnell’s death.
Those messages included a May 13 conversation detailed a drug transaction with “Andy,” according to police.
A search warrant confirmed that the number belonging to “Andy” belonged to Delucia.
A witness, while incarcerated, told police on Sept. 15 that Delucia was responsible for Grinnell’s death.
The witness was friends with both men and said he “also suffered from a drug addiction” and that Delucia sold heroin and methamphetamine in the Clarks Mills area.
The witness recalled a conversation he had with Delucia in jail after Delucia was committed in late summer for an unrelated incident.
He asked Delucia if he heard that Grinnell died. Delucia reportedly told the witness, “Yeah, I’m the one who sold him the dope.”
Delucia told the witness about selling heroin to Grinnell the night before his death.
His common pleas arrangement is set for 9 on Jan 17 with Judge Ronald D. Amrhein.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Suspects are to be considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.