Crime

He injected the heroin that killed his boyfriend. Why someone else will face trial

Anyone can become addicted to drugs

You might think that only some types of people can get addicted to drugs. The truth is, it can happen to anyone, whether you're young or old, rich or poor, male or female.
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You might think that only some types of people can get addicted to drugs. The truth is, it can happen to anyone, whether you're young or old, rich or poor, male or female.

The self-proclaimed “longest-running dope dealer” in State College had his highest-graded charge bound over for trial Wednesday after it was previously dismissed.

State police at Rockview accuse Douglas Sunday, 30, of delivering the heroin responsible for the death of 45-year old Christopher Hagens, who died April 9 at a Benner Township residence.

The felony drug delivery resulting in death charge was dismissed by District Judge Carmine Prestia in June, but police refiled the charge in July. The charge was dismissed, in part, because state police at Rockview trooper Michael Brown testified Stephen Watkins was the one who injected the heroin into Hagens, not Sunday.

Watkins testified for the first time and said he and Sunday completed “drug transactions” together for about seven months before Hagens’ death.

Previous testimony revealed Watkins and his boyfriend Hagens used heroin at Sunday’s residence before doing the same at their own residence.

“We weren’t feeling it very much, so we decided to use some more before bed,” Watkins testified.

The next morning, Watkins testified he was not feeling well and was coughing up blood.

“At that point, I decided to use some more heroin,” Watkins said.

He continued to recount that morning and testified he became concerned when Hagens’ alarm clock was going off, but he was not waking up.

“I was in a panic. I began CPR, but I wasn’t getting good compressions on the soft bed. I moved him to the floor, but it was no use because he already passed away,” Watkins said. “At this point, I was in a full-blown panic. I used the rest of the heroin that I had.”

Watkins further testified his father woke up, saw Hagens on the floor and panicked as well. His father went to his girlfriend’s house and told her what happened, which prompted her to call 911.

Steven Trialonas, Sunday’s attorney, used his cross-examination to reinforce how the heroin got into Hagens’ body.

“So you delivered the heroin to Hagens?” Trialonas asked.

“Yes,” Watkins testified.

“How many bags of heroin did you shoot into Hagens?” Trialonas asked.

“I believe two bags,” Watkins said.

He also testified that he witnessed Hagens “shoot up” one or two bags of heroin after he returned from the bathroom.

“We were high, but I didn’t notice anything wrong with him,” Watkins testified.

That changed the next morning after he woke up.

“Basically my world ended at that point, so I didn’t care if I lived or died,” Watkins testified. “My first thought was, ‘I’m probably going to jail for a very long time.’ I was in a full blown panic.”

Brown was the next to testify and Deputy District Attorney Sean McGraw attempted to ask him about Sunday’s boastful claims to a confidential informant in 2010. Trialonas objected, calling the statements “stale.” Prestia agreed and prevented the testimony.

“I don’t know if we heard any new evidence. I believe the new evidence is fatal to their case,” Trialonas told Prestia. “Watkins delivered the heroin. He actually dispensed it into his body. My client is either two or three times removed depending on how you want to look at it.”

Trialonas also argued it was selective prosecution because Watkins is not charged, but Sunday is.

McGraw countered by reading a section of the crimes code, which detailed the drug delivery resulting in death charge.

“There is no requirement of a direct hand-to-hand delivery,” McGraw said.

Prestia ultimately agreed with McGraw and reversed his earlier ruling. Sunday is now bound over for trial on one felony count of drug delivery resulting in death, one felony count of delivery of a controlled substance, one felony count of criminal use of a communication facility, one misdemeanor count of marijuana possession and one misdemeanor count of possession of drug paraphernalia.

“I think there is a direct line of causality here,” Prestia said.

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