Fatal OD trial may end today
Testimony nears end in case against Forshey
HOLLIDAYSBURG — Michael Lee Forshey tried to implicate someone else when asked if he supplied the drugs leading to the fatal overdose of a 46-year-old East Freedom man in 2018, a police officer testified Thursday in Blair County Court.
Forshey named a Duncansville area man as the person who sold heroin to Ronald Baker, who died at his residence on April 2, 2018, according to Greenfield Township Assistant Police Chief Nathan Claycomb.
The township police department, Claycomb said, was familiar with the man Forshey implicated.
Research, however, revealed that the man was in Blair County Prison and that he had been there since March 16, 2018, Claycomb said.
Forshey, 30, who went on trial Wednesday, is accused of drug delivery resulting in death, criminal use of a communication facility, possession with intent to deliver, recklessly endangering another person and possession of a controlled substance.
Formerly of Hollidaysburg and Coalport, Forshey has been in Blair County Prison since his Sept. 28, 2018, arrest.
Judge Jackie Bernard, who is presiding over the case, is expected to turn the case over to the jury today for deliberations.
District Attorney Pete Weeks said Thursday that he expects to call one more witness this morning.
Defense attorney Doug Keating, who said he may call one or two witnesses, made no commitment Thursday on whether Forshey will testify in his own defense.
Forshey, in text messages shown during the trial, has described Baker as his best friend.
The defendant made that claim in a May 5, 2018, text message to Krista Frantz, Baker’s girlfriend, stating: “If Ron were here, he would tell you I’m a damn good friend.”
Frantz, who met with police after Baker’s death, pointed to text messages on Baker’s phone as evidence that Forshey provided the deadly heroin.
Earlier on the day of his death, Baker had been at her Duncansville residence, she said, and he showed her a small bag of heroin he said he was going to sell. Baker overdosed later at his East Freedom residence, where his mother summoned help when she couldn’t revive him.
Charges indicate that his death was caused by an overdose of heroin and fentanyl.
When testifying Thursday, Claycomb said he met Frantz at the township police station and reviewed the text messages she found on her boyfriend’s phone. Testimony indicated that Forshey and Baker exchanged messages on April 1, 2018, a day prior to Baker’s fatal overdose, when Forshey advised that he had access to some really good “D,” as in dope.
“So on April 1, is there an agreement for a (heroin) sale, at $125 for a bun?” Weeks asked, using the slang term for a bundle of heroin. Claycomb said there was.
When cross-examining Claycomb, Keating pointed out that the April 2, 2018, cellphone text messages show no evidence of Forshey contacting Baker.
There was contact, according to Weeks, who referenced a 2-minute, 59-second call between Baker and Forshey’s phones, occurring after a text message about a missed call.
Claycomb also testified that based on the investigation, it was believed that Baker secured the deadly heroin from Forshey during a transaction at a Chimney Rocks residence outside Hollidaysburg where Forshey’s girlfriend lived at that time. Efforts to contact the girlfriend were unsuccessful, Claycomb told the jurors.
Mirror Staff Writer Kay Stephens is at 946-7456.