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Westmoreland

Jeannette man charged with selling heroin that killed his brother

Joe Napsha
| Monday, Jan. 23, 2017, 4:30 p.m.
Markus McGowan of Jeannette is charged with drug delivery resulting in death for selling his brother, Mathew McGowan, the heroin that killed him.
Markus McGowan of Jeannette is charged with drug delivery resulting in death for selling his brother, Mathew McGowan, the heroin that killed him.

Police jailed a Jeannette man Monday for allegedly selling his brother the fentanyl-laced heroin that caused his fatal overdose on Dec. 28 in a Greensburg apartment.

Markus A. McGowan, 29, is accused of selling Mathew McGowan, 22, the heroin he used at an Eastmont Drive apartment, Detective John Swank wrote in a criminal complaint.

Mathew McGowan allegedly bought seven bags of heroin for $60 from his brother on Dec. 27, police said. They believe he used three bags that day and another on Dec. 28.

A woman told officers she and Mathew McGowan shared a bag of heroin at her apartment around 3:30 p.m. Dec. 28, police said. About 15 minutes later, officers were called because the woman had overdosed. She was resuscitated and was taken to Excela Health Westmoreland Hospital for treatment.

During that visit to the apartment, officers seized an empty heroin bag stamped “Hook Me Up,” and the woman said Mathew McGowan had purchased the drug from his brother.

When the woman returned home from the hospital around 6:30 p.m., Mathew McGowan was lying on the floor and not breathing, she told police.

After three officers used two doses of naloxone spray that failed to reverse McGowan's overdose, he was taken to the Westmoreland Hospital emergency room. He died at 7:22 p.m.

The county coroner said McGowan died of acute drug toxicity caused by fentanyl, a synthetic opioid analgesic more potent than morphine. Toxicology tests found both fentanyl and norfentanyl in his blood.

Police said when they went to Markus McGowan's home on North Seventh Street, he admitted he sold six bags of heroin stamped “Hook Me Up” to his brother and gave him one more bag for free.

He turned himself into police Monday and was arraigned before Jeannette District Judge Joseph DeMarchis on charges of drug delivery resulting in death, possession with intent to deliver heroin and possession of heroin. He remains in the Westmoreland County Prison on $250,000 bond.

Markus McGowan faces a preliminary hearing Feb. 2 in Greensburg before Senior District Judge James Falcon.

In a separate incident, city police and Westmoreland County Detectives are investigating a 25-year-old woman's suspected heroin overdose death on Sunday.

Capt. Robert Stafford said Monday a family member found the woman unresponsive in her Perry Avenue home at about 12:45 p.m. Police did not identify her.

Swank said he was obtaining a search warrant as part of the investigation.

Deputy Coroner John Ackerman said toxicology test results will not be available for eight to 12 weeks.

Joe Napsha is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-836-5252 or jnapsha@tribweb.com.

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