Teen requests his trial be moved from county because of publicity Boy's case inspired 'Heroin Kills' campaign, was discussed at event

August 25, 1998|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,SUN STAFF

A teen-age boy charged as an adult in the January heroin overdose death of a 15-year-old Westminster High schoolmate is asking to have his case moved from Carroll County Circuit Court because of pretrial publicity.

In a signed sworn statement presented yesterday to Carroll Circuit Judge Raymond E. Beck Sr., Kristopher Olenginski, 16, of the 1100 block of Lucabaugh Road in Westminster said, "I do not believe that I have been treated fairly in Carroll County by the media or the court system, and I believe that I cannot receive a fair and impartial trial in Carroll County."

The removal motion filed by Anton J. S. Keating, a Baltimore attorney representing Olenginski, stated that circumstances of the death of Liam O'Hara, who was found dead in bed of a heroin overdose by his father, repeatedly have been discussed in newspapers and on radio and television.

The motion also noted $1,500 in personal funds spent by Jerry F. Barnes, state's attorney for Carroll County, to "erect signs which make indirect references to the subject matter in this case."

The reference was to billboards, bumper stickers and 30,000 magnets that bear the message "Heroin Kills."

The motion also said that David P. Daggett, the assistant state's attorney handling the prosecution of Olenginski, attended a rally with 1,500 people, where reference was made to the defendant's case.

The motion also said Daggett attended a candlelight service for O'Hara, "whom the state alleges that the defendant 'recklessly endangered' during a heroin transaction."

Olenginski's motion noted that he did not wish to be critical of the state's attorney's effort to warn children about the danger of heroin, but stated that the "natural consequences" of the actions of the state's attorney's office "forces any reasonable person to conclude that this defendant cannot receive a fair trial in Carroll County."

Daggett opposed moving the trial, which is scheduled to begin Sept. 21, but Keating told Beck that the "matter is beyond working out."

Beck set Sept. 8 for hearing arguments on the removal motion.

Olenginski is charged with distribution, conspiracy to distribute, possession and possession with intent to distribute heroin, reckless endangerment, maintaining a common nuisance, two counts of obstructing justice, attempted distribution of a controlled dangerous substance and solicitation to possess heroin.

Two juveniles, a Westminster boy and girl, also were accused of conspiring to sell heroin to O'Hara. They have been found guilty in juvenile court, but were not named because of their age.

Olenginski lost his bid to have the case heard in juvenile court.

Pub Date: 8/25/98

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