The boyfriend of a woman who died of an overdose in March has been charged with third-degree murder after prosecutors tell he isolated her and took actions that led to her death instead of calling 911 for help.
Michael Leary, 44, of Millersburg, pressed a Suboxone pill into his dying girlfriend’s mouth and held her mouth shut, instead of getting medical help, because he erroneously believed the pill to treat opioid withdrawal symptoms would act like Narcan and revive her, according to court records.
Prosecutors charged Leary, 44, with criminal homicide, hindering apprehension, and tampering or fabricating physical evidence in connection with the death of 31-year-old Dominique Giordano.
Dauphin County District Attorney Fran Chardo said the homicide charge was filed because of the overall circumstances in the case and the “extreme indifference to human life,” which meets the “malice” standard required for third-degree murder.
Police are still looking for Leary, Chardo said.
Prosecutors charged another man, Delmas Dotson, 52, of Tower City, with supplying Giordano with the drugs that led to her fatal overdose. Dotson is charged with manufacture, delivery, or possession with intent, drug delivery resulting in death, and firearms not to be carried without a license.
Dotson regularly provided drugs to Giordano, according to state police, and he met with her in the hours leading up to her death.
Troopers were dispatched at around 9 a.m. on March 24 to the 100 blocks of Union Street in Millersburg for reported overdose death. Trooper Hilary Faust found Giordano lying face up, fully clothed, on a bedroom floor of the residence.
Officers detained Leary at the scene for being erratic and uncooperative, according to a criminal complaint.
Michelle Spicer, a friend of Giordano’s, gave state police a cell phone video that Leary sent to her early in the morning on March 26, two days after Giordano’s death that reflected what happened the night of her death.
The video showed Giordano lying face down in the hallway of the residence “unconscious and actively overdosing,” according to state police.
Leary can be heard saying in the video, “In case you don’t believe me tomorrow, I had, I had to pull, I had to pull you out of the girl’ (expletive) bed because you came in and (expletive) passed the (expletive) out. I had to stick a stub … under your tongue, cause (sic) you told me you ate all the (expletive) opanas. Dominique, Dominique, I don’t know, love you, but I can’t live like this.”
Opana is a powerful opioid painkiller.
State police executed two search warrants to obtain Facebook records of Leary and Giordano.
In Facebook chats the morning Giordano died, Dotson allegedly told Leary to check Giordano’s phone for previous conversations concerning drug transactions, adding that, “I thought they were for you, I honestly believed she was clean.”
Dotson also told Leary, “I bet I get blamed for this,” according to the complaint.
Court documents indicate Dotson was arraigned on his charges at 10 a.m. on Wednesday. He is in Dauphin County Prison in lieu of $250,000 bail.
State police charged two other people who they say provided or traded medications with Giordano. One of them is Madden, the neighbor who found Giordano’s body, according to police.
Madden, 54, of Millersburg, is charged with manufacture, delivery, or possession with intent and making false reports. Karen Leshko, 36, is charged with manufacture, delivery, or possession with intent.
When state police extracted data from Giordano’s cellphone, they found she had been in contact with Madden and Leshko for drug transactions and pill exchanges. Madden admitted to police in August to giving a few Klonopin to Giordano on March 21, as well as trading and selling other pills with Giordano and Leary in exchange for marijuana, according to police.
Police also found exchanges between Leshko and Giordano, where Giordano would provide Adderall to Leshko in exchange for Gabapentin.
Court documents indicate Madden and Leshko each were arraigned on their charges on Friday. They both were released on $25,000 unsecured bail.