Clarion woman convicted in overdose death

From staff reports

A Clarion County jury June 14 Thursday found a Clarion woman guilty for her role in delivering fentanyl to a man who died of a fentanyl overdose.

Elva Marie Warner-Confer, 42, was convicted following a three-day trial on felony counts of drug delivery resulting in death, delivery of a controlled substance and possession with intent to deliver.

She was charged last year by Clarion state police and the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General after Donald Leroy Brown, 35, was found dead in his Clarion home in 2016.

According to a grand jury report, state police Tpr. Rodney Hotchkiss was summoned to Brown’s Clarion Township home on April 2, 2016, after Brown’s live-in girlfriend, Nicholle Dengel, found Brown deceased in the home.

Hotchkiss observed the home was “suspiciously clean” and there was a delay in time between when Dengel found Brown’s body and when she called 9-1-1.

An autopsy determined Brown died from Fentanyl toxicity.

According to Hotchkiss’s investigation, on the day of his death, Brown’s prescription medications removed from his residence by Dengel and taken to Confer’s home at Meadowbrook Trailer Court.

Hotchkiss recovered the bag of medications from Confer’s residence. A prescription for Percocet a pain medication was missing.

Two days later, Confer was tested by Clarion County Adult Probation for drug use. Confer allegedly tested positive for Percocet use.

Probation agents allegedly recovered a Fentanyl patch which had been cut into several pieces at Confer’s home.

Hotchkiss’s investigation found Brown had traveled to a pain clinic in late March where Brown attempted to get prescription pain medication but was denied. Brow allegedly contacted Confer and asked her for “patches.”

Confer allegedly conformed Brown wanted Fentanyl. Confer also allegedly confirmed to a witness she provided Brown with three Fentanyl patches she obtained from Best.

Confer told the grand jury she obtained Fentanyl patches for Brown on several occasions and she bought them from Best.

Confer said the patches were chewed for the strongest effect.

Best allegedly admitted to Hotchkiss she had provided the patches to Confer within weeks of Brown’s death.

Court dockets indicate that Best, a Shippenville resident, is scheduled to appear in plea court next week in Clarion County.

“The opioid painkiller involved in this case is one of the most powerful ever made available by prescription,” said Clarion County District Attorney Mark Aaron, who assisted with the prosecution.

“The diversion of these powerful drugs from their intended use far too often leads to tragic, unnecessary deaths like this one,” Aaron added.

Since Shapiro took office in January 2017, his office has arrested or prosecuted 27 defendants for drug delivery resulting in death. The Office of Attorney General has leveled this felony charge against doctors as well as drug dealers.

“If you sell drugs and someone dies as a result, you’re facing a felony and jail,” Shapiro said. “We’re using every tool at our disposal to hold drug dealers accountable for the devastation they’re causing in communities across Pennsylvania. That includes this charge of drug delivery resulting in death.”

Sentencing is expected to occur within 90 days, following a pre-sentence investigation.

In addition to Aaron, the case was prosecuted by Senior Deputy Attorney General Marnie Sheehan-Balchon.

“Law enforcement collaboration between my office and District Attorney Aaron helps make Clarion County safer,” Shapiro said. “We’re grateful for his work.”