In 2015, I promised to you that I would be an active District Attorney. Since I was elected, I have prosecuted cases involving Homicide by Vehicle, Drug Delivery Resulting in Death, Sexual Assault, Arson, and Drug Crimes. These cases are difficult. I have been honored to work with victims, police officers and outside agencies and experts to bring resolution to these cases.
In 2016, I successfully prosecuted, at trial, a defendant for selling cocaine in our County. The amount of cocaine seized in this case made it one of the largest drug arrests in our County’s history. The defendant was convicted and sentenced to several years in prison.
That same year, I successfully prosecuted, at trial, a defendant who kidnapped his wife and held her against her will for several hours in a remote area. Through her courage, the defendant was convicted and sentenced to a term of 25 years to 50 years in prison.
In 2017, a highly-publicized case involving the homicide by vehicle death of a young man in our County had to be transferred to Venango County due to the publicity surrounding the case - a first in County history or, at least, in recent memory. Over the course of the two-week trial, approximately 50 witnesses testified for the Commonwealth. Paul Morrisroe was convicted of the death of Dakota Heinaman.
In 2018, saw the very first prosecution for Drug Delivery Resulting in Death in County history. This charge has been on the books for many years but had never been charged here. The defendant was convicted, at trial, of delivering fentanyl - a highly potent drug. He was sentenced to several years in prison for causing the death of a young man in our County.
That same year, I successfully prosecuted, at trial, a defendant who intentionally set her home on fire in Kane- endangering the lives of the firefighters who responded. Just a few weeks ago, I successfully prosecuted, at trial, a defendant who intentionally set her home on fire in Port Allegany - again, placing firefighters at risk.
In 2019, I successfully prosecuted the first methamphetamine lab case that arose from the rapid spike in meth lab cases in our county beginning in 2018. Meth is dangerous not only to the users but also to first responders and neighbors due to its explosive nature. We have seen meth cases all over the County- Port Allegany, Eldred, Smethport, Kane, and Bradford.
Over my tenure as District Attorney, I have been actively involved in fighting the opioid epidemic. I have given testimony in a public hearing organized by Senator Gene Yaw for the Center for Rural Pennsylvania. I have spoken to numerous groups including students about the dangers of drugs. I have spoken to first responders about the dangers these drugs pose to them - particularly fentanyl-laced heroin and methamphetamine. First responders are at a danger of overdose death by incidental contact with fentanyl, which is commonly mixed with heroin. Methamphetamine is commonly manufactured in homes and, in nearly every “meth lab” found in McKean County, signs of fire were evident.
Drug abuse frequently begins with prescription medication. To reduce access to expired medication, I worked with the District Attorneys Association and Pennsylvania American Water to install medication drop boxes throughout the County. Today, the boxes are installed at the Bradford Township Police Department, Bradford City Police Department, Kane Police Department and the Sheriff’s Department at the McKean County Jail.
The most difficult cases law enforcement and prosecutors face involve crimes against children and elderly. Sexual and physical violence by family members against children are, particularly, difficult. I have been involved in these types of cases as the District Attorney as well as a Caseworker and Foster Care Coordinator at the beginning of my career. I have, personally, represented more than 400 children involved in the child welfare system.
I have been honored to represent McKean County as your District Attorney. I ask for your confidence and your vote to continue to represent the people of McKean County on May 21.