Defense presents case in drug death trial; deliberations to start

The defense presented its case Wednesday in the trial of an Emlenton man accused in the drug delivery death of a Clarion County woman.

Defendant Shaun Long, 51, declined to testify on his own behalf, but his attorney recalled a state police trooper to the stand and also called a physician to testify.

Long is on trial in connection with the death of Kayla Dunlap, 28, of Callensburg, in September 2017. Testimony on Tuesday indicated Dunlap died after taking drugs at Long’s Scrubgrass Township home.

On Wednesday, defense attorney Joe Ryan recalled state police Cpl. Christopher Balcik, who testified Tuesday about cell phone records.

Ryan asked Balcik to read several messages that appeared on a cell phone belonging to Grace O’Day, who testified Tuesday she had been a witness to Dunlap’s death.

The text messages were of conversations between O’Day and others about drug deals. After reading one set of texts, Balcik concluded that it appeared O’Day was making a “drug transaction with her family.”

In another text, O’Day warned her buyer to be careful with the drugs she was selling because the “white” was “good as (expletive).”

In a text dated Aug. 20, 2017, O’Day said Dunlap had used some and “fell off of her porch.”

Ryan also asked if the fire ring located behind Long’s trailer had been searched. Balcik said another member of the state police team examined the fire ring but didn’t find anything.

O’Day testified Tuesday that Long had burned the sheets he had wrapped Dunlap’s body in and a flip-flop found the next day in the fire pit.

Ryan also called forensic pathologist Dr. Todd Luckasevic of Sewickley to testify. Luckasevic said he agreed with Dr. Leon Rozen, who testified Tuesday, that Dunlap had died of an overdose, but he disagreed with Rozen’s interpretation of the results.

Luckasevic said the report confirmed the existence of caffeine, the Narcan medication, fentanyl, Norfentanyl (an opioid analgesic), Acetylfentanyl (a more potent opioid analgesic), pseudoephedrine (a decongestant) and methamphetamines.

He said one ingredient identified in Rozen’s report was a byproduct of another drug.

Luckasevic said the level of fentanyl in Dunlap’s body was 76 nanoparts per milliliter, which was three times the normal level. He noted that Dunlap’s level of methamphetamine was three times the legal level.

Luckasevic said Acetylfentanyl is so new that no legal levels have been established.

“It is a synthetic opiate not prescribed for human use,” he said.

He said that either the fentanyl or meth levels found in Dunlap’s body could have caused her death.

Under cross-examination, Luckasevic noted that while Narcan is useful but the victim must be “more or less alive” for it to be effective.

O’Day testified Tuesday that Long kept Narcan at his home and that she had used it on Dunlap after she overdosed.

Long is on trial for felony counts of drug delivery resulting in death, hindering apprehension or prosecution-concealing or destroying evidence, hindering apprehension or prosecution by providing false information to law enforcement officials, and three felony counts of manufacture, delivery or possession with intent to manufacture or deliver.

He is also facing several misdemeanor charges.

Closing arguments are scheduled to start at 9 a.m. today, then Judge Robert Boyer will charge the jury before the panel is sequestered for deliberations.