The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

News

November 21, 2008

Montour County DA calls women callous

Buehner says they should have gotten help for man

DANVILLE -- After studying high court cases, Montour County District Attorney Robert Buehner Jr. concluded there was insufficient evidence to charge two women who left a man in a stupor on a porch. He died of a drug overdose, and he had twice the legal limit of alcohol in his system.

In a letter to Danville police Sgt. William Wilt, Buehner wrote, "Both you and I find the behavior of certain individuals in this matter to be morally wrong, callous and contrary to good citizenship."

"While I believe they had ethical or moral duty to seek medical treatment for him, it does not appear to rise to the level of a legal duty based upon Pennsylvania statutes or reported cases," Buehner said.

The women, whom Buehner did not identify, carried Jay Doebler, 22, down a flight of steps and placed him on a porch, where he was found dead May 16.

An autopsy by Dr. Sara Funke showed the cause of death to be ethanol and drug effects, including heroin and morphine. She also found the presence of the prescription drug Xanax.

According to county Coroner Scott Lynn, Doebler had twice the legal limit of alcohol in his system along with heroin and morphine. Morphine can be a byproduct of heroin.

Doebler spent 22 months in the county jail for thefts he admitted he committed to feed his heroin addiction.

Doebler was released from the county prison May 15 to undergo a medical procedure the next day. That way, the county wouldn't have had to pay for the procedure.

He spent that day with several people, making at least one stop in Mahoning Township, where he obtained controlled substances, Buehner said. Doebler later returned to an apartment building on West Mahoning Street to eat with several people and was found in a stuporous state in a bathroom there, the DA said.

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