A woman jailed in Centre County since April is seeking bail until her case is able to go to trial.
Former district attorney Stacy Parks Miller announced in April that a county investigating grand jury recommended bringing felony charges against Graham and Maria K. Gilligan, 22, of Bellefonte. Charges included felony counts of possession with intent to deliver and drug delivery resulting in death.
At the time of their preliminary hearing, attorneys for both Graham and Gilligan argued that the prosecution was unable to present evidence that any crime had occurred in Centre County, saying the case should be transferred to Clinton County.
According to the grand jury report, Graham, Gilligan and Pena traveled from State College to Lock Haven to purchase heroin. Pena then allegedly obtained bags of what was believed to be heroin from Graham while still in Lock Haven before returning to Centre County.
Once in Centre County, Pena reportedly ingested eight bags. The bags reportedly contained fentanyl, a potent narcotic, and Pena overdosed.
Graham’s attorney, Steven Trialonas, filed a motion to transfer the case to Clinton County in August, court documents show. The DA’s office filed a brief in opposition the following month.
According to an opinion and order signed by former President Judge Thomas Kistler dated Aug. 15, the court has to determine where a crime was committed, saying that the prosecution itself alleged that Graham delivered the bags of supposed heroin to Pena in Clinton County.
“Although Pena died in Centre County ... it would be inappropriate for Centre County to exercise jurisdiction,” the opinion said. “Once the drugs were given to Pena, (Graham) took no other action in furtherance of this crime.”
The opinion also states that the prosecution claimed that since the body was found in Centre County, it is the proper venue to hear the case.
However, the opinion states that Pena’s death was not an “overt act” committed by Graham, saying no action was taken by Graham causing Pena’s death except the action that took place in Clinton County. This action included the purchase and delivery of drugs, which occurred in Lock Haven.
“Both crimes were completed before (Graham) and Pena returned to Centre County,” the opinion said. An order granted the transfer of the case to Clinton County.
The DA’s office filed an appeal on this order with the state Superior Court on Sept. 14. According to Superior Court dockets, the appeal was granted an extension to file briefs and reproduced records on Jan. 22.
As the case remains under appeal, Graham remains incarcerated in the Centre County Correctional Facility on $150,000 straight bail. Gilligan remains free on $150,000 unsecured bail, her case held in abeyance — placed on hold — pending the outcome of the appeal.
In the meantime, Trialonas submitted a motion seeking a bail modification for Graham. Dated Jan. 12, he argued that “defendant Graham and co-defendant Gilligan are now similarly situated with respect to the charges they face. It is respectfully submitted that their bail should also be consistent.”
No order has yet been issued on the motion for bail modification. According to the motion, as of Jan. 4, Graham has served 268 days in CCCF.
If convicted, Graham could be facing as much as 40 years behind bars.