Attorney wants separate trials in 2017 drug death cases |

Attorney wants separate trials in 2017 drug death cases

Rich Cholodofsky

The lawyer for an Allegheny County man charged with selling fatal doses of drugs in 2017 to men in Greensburg and Murrysville said two separate trials should be convened.

Two consolidated cases of drug delivery resulting in death currently are pending against Demetrius Bernard Christmas, 30, of Turtle Creek. Prosecutors contend Christmas was the drug supplier to a dealer who sold heroin to Paul Lucas, 31, of Murrysville, who died of an overdose on April 13, 2017, and to Jeffrey Gettemy, 30, who was found dead in a Greensburg apartment on June 1, 2017.

In both cases, police said Christmas sold the drugs to Jeremy S. Mason, 34, of Manor, who, in turn, distributed them to Lucas and Gettemy.

Defense attorney Lee Rothman, in court documents filed Monday, said Lucas and Gettemy were not associates and because their deaths occurred nearly two months apart, there should be separate trials involving the charges associated with the overdose deaths.

“Defendant would be prejudiced by the admission of his criminal history into a consolidated trial, as the jury would be incapable of separating the evidence and may tend to convict him of all charges based on a perceived propensity to commit crime,” Rothman wrote.

Christmas’ trial had been scheduled to begin in April. Westmoreland County Common Pleas Court Judge Tim Krieger on Monday delayed the trial until at least June to allow time to consider the new defense request for separate trials.

Drug delivery resulting in death charges against Mason in connection with the Lucas and Gettemy deaths still are pending.

Rich Cholodofsky is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Rich at 724-830-6293, [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories: Local | Westmoreland
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.