ShareThis Page

Somerset County couple charged with setting up 'marijuana grow' operation

Mary Pickels
| Friday, May 17, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

A Somerset County man and woman are charged with operating a “marijuana grow,” which police learned about while investigating a report of a domestic assault this week.

Mary Elizabeth Beeman, 24, and Johnathan Richard Barr, 21, both of Somerset, were charged on Thursday before District Judge Susan Mankamyer with possession, manufacture and use/possession of drug paraphernalia.

The charges were filed by state police Trooper Matthew Jones in connection with a marijuana growing operation in sections of Boswell and Jenner Township.

Beeman and Barr are accused of planting 28 marijuana plants in several plots of the heavily wooded area.

Beeman and Barr “hauled potting soil and paraphernalia along with the plants into the wooded area and planted them. (They) cut down several trees for sunlight to reach the plots and dammed up water in order to water (plants),” Jones said in a news release.

Information on the marijuana grow followed an investigation into an incident on Monday at 123 Huston St., Apartment 185, Somerset.

According to an affidavit filed with Mankamyer, borough police officers found Beeman bleeding from scratches on her chest and a gash to her left eye.

After she was taken to Somerset Hospital for treatment, Barr turned himself in to officers at the apartment. He had several fresh scratches and raised marks on his neck and back and told police Beeman attacked him.

Each was charged with simple assault and harassment, court records show.

In an affidavit filed with Mankamyer, Jones said he assisted borough police and, through the course of the investigation, was informed of the “marijuana grow operation.”

Jones said he saw the plants growing in two plots.

“I also observed potting soil, potting soil bags, planters, shovel and a hammer. ... (Barr) related that it was the grow operation run by (Beeman) and that he had visited it with (Beeman) numerous times,” Jones said.

Interviewed at the county prison, Beeman confessed to setting up the grow operation with Barr, according to the affidavit.

Trooper Gregg Norton, spokesman for the Somerset barracks, said a monetary value for the marijuana can't be determined until the plants are processed.

“That (28 plants) is a good amount of marijuana,” Norton said.

Beeman and Barr face preliminary hearings on July 10 before Mankamyer. A Somerset County Prison spokesman said the two remain jailed on $20,000 bail each, following their earlier charges.

Mary Pickels is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-5401 or

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.