Crime

Women charged in death of Corrine Pena bound over on felony charges

Some charges were dropped Wednesday morning as the two women suspected to be involved in the death of Corrine Pena faced preliminary hearings at the Centre County Courthouse.

Sabine I. Graham, 24, of State College, and Maria K. Gilligan, 21, of Bellefonte, both face felony charges related to to Pena’s overdose death in 2016. Both were charged after a grand jury presentment detailed their alleged roles in procuring the drugs that lead to Pena’s death.

Pena, 35, was found in February 2016 alongside a road in rural Ferguson Township. Robert Moir, 60, of Patton Township, was found guilty of abuse of a corpse in December 2016 after he testified to dumping her body.

The prosecution first questioned Ferguson Township Detective Joshua Martin during the hearing, who testified that Pena had reached out to Gilligan in an attempt to find drugs. The two later met with Graham and an unidentified woman in College Township before going to Lock Haven to purchase heroin, he said.

Martin testified to the toxicology report received after Pena’s autopsy, saying the cause of death was a fentanyl overdose. Packets of the drug, which were tested by state police, he said, were also found concealed in Pena’s clothes.

He also testified to meeting with several confidential informants who reportedly claimed Graham had provided them with heroin at different times after Pena’s death.

Under cross-examination, both Graham’s attorney, Steven Trialonas, and Gilligan’s attorney, Karen Muir, argued that, as the commonwealth was unable to provide evidence that the drug was given to Pena in Centre County, the case should be transferred to Clinton County. Further arguments were made that there was no proof the drugs were even ingested by Pena while she was in Centre County.

Trialonas further argued that the confidential informants could not verify if the drugs they reportedly received from Graham and ingested were actually heroin, as the charges specify the delivery of heroin. Martin testified that, according to the informants, the drugs they received provided a similar high as heroin, but would not be able to tell the difference.

District Judge Allen Sinclair, who presided over the hearing, bound over Graham on the felony counts of drug delivery resulting in death and a count of possession with intent to deliver, but dropped the remaining eight felony charges of possession with intent. Graham was bound over on two felony counts of delivery resulting in death and possession with intent to deliver.

The case now moves toward trial.

Jeremy Hartley: 814-231-4616, @JJHartleyNews

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