Judge tosses drug charges against Latrobe man
A Westmoreland County judge ruled Wednesday there is not enough evidence to prosecute a Latrobe man jailed since last summer on drug possession charges.
Common Pleas Court Judge Tim Krieger said a drug-filled backpack found unattended on a Latrobe street could not be adequately linked to Christopher Twigger, who had been arrested and charged after a later search of his home found additional evidence.
According to court records, a local resident spotted the backpack around 9 a.m. July 20 and called police more than five hours later after no one had claimed the bag. Police said Twigger’s photo identification along with two prescription bottles with his name as well as heroin and marijuana were discovered in the backpack. Investigators later tracked down Twigger at his home, where they alleged drug paraphernalia was discovered and led to additional charges being filed.
“The backpack was never seen in the defendant’s possession, nor was any evidence presented to show that the defendant had recently been in the area where the backpack was found and remained unattended for more than five hours,” Krieger wrote in his four-page opinion.
As a result, evidence found in the search of Twigger’s home was also invalidated, the judge ruled.
All the charges, one felony and four misdemeanor drug offenses, were dismissed against Twigger.
Twigger, 34, had been in jail since his arrest last summer in lieu of a $50,000 bond set in February. He was scheduled to appear before Krieger on April 30 for a hearing on a defense request to have him released to an inpatient drug treatment program.
It was unclear Wednesday if that hearing would still be conducted.
Rich Cholodofsky is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Rich at 724-830-6293, [email protected] or via Twitter .