GANT: O’Brien Pleads Guilty to Trying to Cover Up Drug-Related Crimes

CLEARFIELD CO., Pa. (GANT) – A DuBois man originally charged with drug delivery resulting in death pleaded guilty for his attempt to cover up his drug crimes during court Tuesday.

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Patrick D. O’Brien, 38, was also charged by Sandy Township police with possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, tampering with physical evidence, obstructing the administration of law and involuntary manslaughter after he was found at the scene of a drug overdose at a Carson Avenue residence on March 28, 2020.

O’Brien was reportedly grabbing items from a desk while emergency personnel were performing CPR on the woman.

The criminal complaint details how he threw something into a dark basement after he was removed from the room.

The container was recovered and inside officers located numerous bundles of drugs for delivery and a brick of stamp bags of heroin packaged for delivery, according to the report.

After a preliminary hearing in June 2020, former District Judge Patrick Ford dismissed the drug delivery resulting in death and involuntary manslaughter charges only for Sandy Township police to refile the drug delivery resulting in death charge in a separate case in October of 2020.

In July of this year, District Attorney Ryan Sayers announced that “due to recently-discovered evidence, the commonwealth will not be moving forward with the charges of drug delivery resulting in the death of Donna Smith or possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance against Patrick O’Brien.

“Sandy Township police came into possession of evidence indicating that the drugs that ultimately took the life of Ms. Smith were not provided to her by the defendant.”

His trial was cancelled and O’Brien signed a plea for the remaining charges and was sentenced Tuesday by Judge Paul Cherry to six months to two years in state prison.

Prior to sentencing, Jendi Schwab, attorney for O’Brien, pointed out that he has been out on bail for 18 months without a problem and asked for a county jail sentence for him.

First Assistant District Attorney Leanne Nedza commented that if O’Brien had cooperated from the beginning “instead of trying to hide his drug selling” he wouldn’t be going to jail at all.

“He was not concerned about Donna, but just covering up his activities.”

She stated that although messages from his phone show that he did not supply the drugs to the victim, it did contain multiple messages about other drug sales.

Nedza argued for a state prison sentence.

After sentencing him, Cherry noted that he chose to send O’Brien to state prison due to his prior record and the fact that this case occurred shortly after he was released from state prison in 2019.

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