NORRISTOWN, Pa. (WTXF) - On Friday, authorities announced the arrest of Andre Franchot Gary, 23, of Bear, Delaware, on the criminal homicide charge of Drug Delivery Resulting in Death in connection with the fatal overdose of Jacqueline Hearn, 58, of Abington.
Around 3 p.m. on Thursday, June 1, Abington Police arrived to an apartment on Easton Road to find a family member performing CPR on Hearn. She was later pronounced dead at Abington Hospital.
Hearn was found with 12 blue wax paper bags and six red Ziploc bags without markings, common for packaging heroin. A white dinner plate with a white powdery substance and a rolled-up dollar bill were also recovered.
The ensuing investigation revealed that earlier in the day, around 1:30 p.m., the defendant delivered a bundle of purported heroin to Hearn and her daughter outside their apartment. The drug buy and delivery from Philadelphia by Gary were arranged via text message beforehand.
The next day, detectives arranged for Gary to deliver more drugs to the apartment. When the defendant arrived at the Easton Road address, he was found to be in possession of 11 clear Ziploc bags containing blue wax packets and one red Ziploc bag containing a blue wax packet, similar to those found by the deceased.
After conducting tests of the bags and white dinner plate found by Hearn's body, authorities determined the substances to be acetyl fentanyl and fentanyl, both synthetic opioids over 50 times stronger than street-level heroin.
An autopsy revealed that Hearn's cause of death was a combination of drugs, including fentanyl. Dr. Williams of the Montgomery County Corner's Office opined that if not for the fentanyl in Hearn's system, she would be alive.
Gary's charge of Drug Delivery Resulting in Death is a felony criminal homicide charge that could result in a sentence of up to 40 years in prison--a similar penalty to third-degree murder--as well as possession with intent to deliver, criminal use of a communication facility, recklessly endangering another person and other charges.
"Jacqueline Hearn died from being poisoned. Dealers bringing their poison into Montgomery County--often delivering right to the victim's door--and preying upon those suffering from the disease of addiction should think twice about coming over our borders," said Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele.
"I want to be loud and clear with this message," Steele said. "If you deal drugs like pills, heroin or fentanyl and we can prove that the drugs you sold caused someone's death, you will be charged with homicide--Drug Delivery Resulting in Death. This is our third arrest for this charge in 2017, and more arrests are in the works. Our law enforcement agencies are working together to combat this terrible epidemic, and we are committed to stemming the tide of the pain, suffering, addiction and death that those who traffic poison are raining down on our county and bringing into all of our lives."
Bail has been denied to the defendant. A preliminary hearing is set for July 13.