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Jeannette man accused of abandoning children is held for court on drug charges |

Jeannette man accused of abandoning children is held for court on drug charges

Jeff Himler
Ryan Mason, left, and Destany Stamps

Drug charges against a Jeannette man accused of abandoning his three children for more than a week in a bug-infested Greensburg home were held for court this week.

Ryan Jay Mason, 39, pleaded not guilty to charges of possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession with intent to deliver methamphetamine brought by Latrobe police, stemming from his Jan. 25 arrest at a Latrobe residence for previous drug charges.

Mason and Destany Stamps, 36, of Jeannette, are charged with endangering the welfare of children after they allegedly abandoned their three children — a teenage boy and 5-year-old twins — for more than a week in Greensburg to avoid being arrested on outstanding warrants.

Stamps, who was wanted for violating terms of probation in a 2018 theft case, also was apprehended at the Latrobe residence on Spring Street. The couple, who were placed in the Westmoreland County Prison, waived preliminary hearings on the endangerment charges, brought by the Westmoreland County Sheriff’s Department.

Defense attorney Michael DeMatt argued police failed to establish a sufficient case for the drug delivery charge at Mason’s preliminary hearing Monday before District Judge Michael Mahady in Unity. DeMatt noted arresting Latrobe Officer Robert Derk testified the 3-4 grams of methamphetamine investigators confiscated while serving Mason with an arrest warrant in Latrobe is an amount that might be either for personal use or for sale to someone else.

“The quantity that was there really could go either way,” DeMatt said of the drug. “There’s nothing to indicate this is … intent to deliver.”

The tenant of the Latrobe home where Mason was arrested told investigators Mason sells her methamphetamine, according to court documents. But DeMatt said there was no indication such a sale had occurred on the day of the arrest.

Mahady noted Derk had pointed to other evidence that was “indicative of intent to deliver,” including $967 in cash Mason had in his possession and multiple cell phones that were “right in front of him” as he sat on a couch in the Latrobe home. Derk acknowledged Mason hadn’t admitted to owning any of the phones.

Some of the drugs confiscated from Mason were in a plastic bag he attempted to shove between the couch cushions when authorities arrived to serve the arrest warrant, Derk testified.

He said a search of Mason’s car turned up an additional bag containing methamphetamine along with a butane torch and two glass pipes with residue of the drug.

Sheriff’s Sgt. Irvin Shipley said in court documents Mason and Stamp’s children were covered “in filth and their hair was completely matted, and they were also complaining of being itchy” when they were discovered Jan. 24 hiding in a bedroom of a home on Greensburg’s Cleveland Street.

The house was filled with “the smell of rotting food and garbage,” and the children couldn’t recall when they’d last bathed, according to Shipley.

The children were placed in the custody of the county children’s bureau.

Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jeff at 724-836-6622, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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