Teens face drug charges in boy's death Westminster students suspected of supplying heroin to schoolmate

Juvenile hearings set

Residents plan rally to call attention to drug use in schools

January 28, 1998|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,SUN STAFF

Two Westminster teen-agers, who police believe supplied heroin that killed a 15-year-old schoolmate three weeks ago, were arrested on drug charges Monday and placed yesterday under electronic home detention.

The 17-year-old girl and a 16-year-old boy, students at Westminster High School, were held overnight at juvenile facilities before being taken to a detention hearing in Westminster yesterday.

Lt. Dean Brewer, a police spokesman, said yesterday that a third juvenile was being sought.

The teen-agers were not identified because of their ages.

According to police reports, Liam A. O'Hara, a 10th-grader at Westminster High, was found dead in his bed by his father about 7: 30 a.m. Jan. 9.

An autopsy by the state medical examiner determined that the boy died of narcotics intoxication, police said. Additional tests are being conducted to determine the purity of the suspected heroin, Brewer said.

Heroin sold on the streets of Westminster usually is 5 percent to 12 percent pure, he said. The girl was charged with one count each of conspiracy to distribute heroin, conspiracy to possess heroin, hindering an investigation and accessory after the fact to distribute heroin.

The boy was charged with one count each of reckless endangerment, maintaining a common nuisance, distribution of heroin, possession of heroin, conspiracy to distribute heroin, accessory after the fact to distribute heroin and solicitation to possess heroin.

Juvenile hearings were scheduled for Feb. 23 for each teen.

State's Attorney Jerry F. Barnes said yesterday that he would seek to charge the boy as an adult.

Meanwhile yesterday, two county residents were organizing a rally scheduled for 4 p.m. today in front of the state's attorney's office at 125 N. Court St. in Westminster.

Rally organizers Linda Auerback and Tonya Bubolz, co-workers jTC at St. John's Roman Catholic Church in Westminster, said they want to open parents' eyes to the severity of the drug problem in county schools.

Auerback, who has three children, and Bubolz, the church's youth minister, said they were acting as concerned citizens and not on behalf of the church.

"We want to point out that Jerry Barnes is making misleading statements when he tells parents that drugs in the schools are under control," Auerback said.

"Those [juveniles] could have been held at a detention center, and not allowed to go home," she said. "We have to send a serious message [to teens], to scare them so they learn they will be dealt with severely if they bring drugs into the schools and the county."

Barnes said his office has no authority over the schools, but has been engaged in assisting and supporting whatever programs the Board of Education has permitted, including his spending days teaching about drug abuse in the schools and implementing a search by police dogs of cars parked outside the high schools.

"It's a law enforcement issue," Barnes said, "and we have been meeting frequently with state and local police, trying to develop strategies to keep drugs out of schools and away from teens."

Pub Date: 1/28/98

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