Most-serious drug charges dropped against IUP student
A district judge has dismissed the most serious charges filed against one of two Indiana University of Pennsylvania students, who Greensburg police said had about a half-pound of marijuana in a rental vehicle they stopped in October.
On Thursday, Greensburg District Judge James Albert tossed charges of manufacture, delivery or possession with intent to manufacture or deliver a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia filed against Justin King, 24, of 561 Water St., Indiana.
After a preliminary hearing, Albert held King for trial on charges of conspiracy and possession of a small amount of marijuana.
Co-defendant India Denise McMiller, 22, of 271 Nixon Ave., Indiana, will face trial on the same charges originally filed against King, plus criminal use of a communication facility — a cell phone.
Greensburg Patrolman Kerry Dieter testified he stopped the white Chevrolet Malibu rental vehicle McMiller was driving on New Alexandria Road about 1 a.m. Oct. 23 after she failed to use a turn signal.
Dieter said other officers had told him about drugs allegedly being sold out of a white Chevrolet Malibu.
“They both said they were IUP students,” Dieter said. “I asked why they were in Greensburg.”
King said he was heading to a friend's house. Dieter testified the friend “was known to me as a drug user/seller.”
Greensburg Patrolman Charles Irvin then spotted a small bag with suspected marijuana in the car's center console, Dieter said. He found two burned “blunts,” or thick marijuana cigarettes, in a passenger-door compartment near King and $1,139 on King, Dieter said.
During a later search, police found about a half-pound of marijuana inside a bookbag in the trunk. Papers with McMiller's name on them were in the bookbag, Dieter said.
An analysis of texted messages on McMiller's seized cell phone turned up “multiple conversations ... about acquiring narcotics of various (sorts),” Dieter said.
At least one message involved a “Justin,” but police were unable to identify that person further, the officer said.
King's attorney, Ron Chicka, argued charges should be dismissed against his client.
“The commonwealth had to show that Mr. King, in this situation, had the ability to control the contraband in the trunk,” Chicka said, adding the prosecution had failed to do so.
Bob Stiles is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com 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.
- Latrobe ear-biting suspect loses bid for reduced bail
- Request for documents delays Speedway hearing in Unity
- Westmoreland County tourism grants promote banana splits, breweries, trolley, railroad
- Donora-Monessen bridge ramps to stay open during construction
- Youngwood aims to reduce amount that ends up in sewage treatment facility
- Blaze guts South Greensburg home, kills 2 dogs
- Hempfield infant fights rare disease
- Ligonier doctor’s appeal to practice rejected
- Laurel Mountain Ski Resort discusses planned revival
- Forbes: Night at the Races planned at sportsmen’s club
- Pittsburgh man’s bid to delay trial rejected