Judge rules Turtle Creek man will have separate trials for Westmoreland drug deaths
An Allegheny County man charged with supplying drugs used in two fatal overdoses in Westmoreland County will have separate trials, a judge ruled Friday.
Common Pleas Court Judge Tim Krieger, in a five-page opinion, said that it would be prejudicial for one jury to hear two separate cases against Demetrius Christmas, 30, of Turtle Creek.
He is charged with multiple counts of drug delivery resulting in death. Police claim Christmas sold fentanyl-laced heroin to another man who, in turn, sold the drugs used in the fatal overdose of a Murrysville man and then, seven weeks later, distributed drugs that authorities contend caused the death of a man in Greensburg.
Prosecutors said Paul Lucas, 31, of Murrysville, died of an overdose on April 13, 2017, and Jeffrey Gettemy, 30, of Greensburg, died June 1, 2017, from drugs that originated with Christmas.
“The court believes that, if the two cases are tried together, the unique circumstances contributing to each victim’s death would inevitably be mixed together in the jury’s mind,” Krieger wrote.
Christmas, who is in the county jail on $75,000 bond, is scheduled for trial in October.
Mason is in jail on $500,000 bond. He is charged with drug delivery resulting in death in connection with the Lucas and Gettemy overdoses. His trials have not been scheduled.
Rich Cholodofsky is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Rich at 724-830-6293, [email protected] or via Twitter .