Youth to face trial as an adult Teen charged in connection with heroin overdose

March 15, 1998|By Jay Apperson | Jay Apperson,SUN STAFF

A 16-year-old Westminster boy suspected of supplying the heroin that killed a schoolmate in January has been ordered to stand trial as an adult on drug distribution charges.

Kristopher Olenginski, an 11th-grade student at Westminster High School, was released into his parents' custody Friday after being charged as an adult on charges stemming from the overdose death of 15-year-old Liam A. O'Hara.

In rejecting a defense lawyer's plea that Olenginski should be tried in the juvenile justice system, Carroll County Circuit Judge Francis M. Arnold said: "This is a very serious case. It certainly had very serious consequences."

The judge made his ruling at the end of a hearing in which Olenginski was described by his lawyer as a solid student with no record of trouble with the law or with school officials. An official from the state Department of Juvenile Justice had recommended that Olenginski be tried as a juvenile.

But Carroll County Assistant State's Attorney David Daggett said allegations that Olenginski drove to West Baltimore on Jan. 8 to buy heroin and sold it for profit in the parking lot of a Westminster shopping center suggest that the youth was "not a rookie" in his involvement with drugs.

Detective Sgt. Wayne Mann of the Westminster Police Department testified that a witness told investigators that Olenginski sold a $30 bag of heroin to O'Hara, who was on break from his job at a fast-food restaurant.

O'Hara, a sophomore at Westminster High School, was found dTC dead in his bed the next morning. The youth died of a heroin overdose, court records show.

Mann also said the witness, a teen-age girl, reported that she, Olenginski and another teen-age boy snorted the rest of the heroin.

In interviews with juvenile justice officials, Olenginski denied involvement with drug or alcohol use, and a drug treatment expert concluded that the youth does not have a drug problem, according to court testimony.

After the Circuit Court judge ruled that Olenginski should be tried as an adult, prosecutors filed an 11-count criminal information document in District Court charging Olenginski with heroin distribution; conspiracy to sell heroin; reckless endangerment; conspiracy to commit obstruction of justice; and other crimes.

Olenginski, who has been under home detention since shortly after his Jan. 26 arrest, was in police custody for about four hours Friday before being released to his parents.

District Judge Marc G. Rasinsky ordered Olenginski, who lives with his parents in the 1100 block of Lucabaugh Mill Road, to be supervised by state pretrial services officials while awaiting trial. The judge also ordered the youth to undergo drug screening.

An investigation into O'Hara's death led to juvenile charges against Olenginski and the other two teen-agers allegedly present when heroin was sold to the boy in January. A 15-year-old Westminster boy is scheduled to appear in court Friday, said prosecutors, who plan to ask that that youth also be tried as an adult.

Pub Date: 3/15/98

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