Five accused in drug death of Hanover-area woman

Christopher Dornblaser
  • West Manheim Township Police have filed charges against two people in relation to a drug-related death from 2015.
  • Police say Benjamin Yelton picked up the heroin and Percocets that killed Skylar Smith.
  • Four others are accused of being involved with the transactions.

Five people are accused of being involved with providing the deadly drugs that ended up killing a Hanover-area woman in December 2015, according to charging documents.

Denise Elaine Crone, 46, of 7696 Glenville Road, Glen Rock, and Benjamin Dwayne Yelton, 28, of 4395 Quehanna Highway, Karthaus, Clearfield County, allegedly gave Skylar Smith the drugs that killed the 27-year-old, police said.

Crone is charged with drug delivery resulting in death, possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, conspiracy to possess drugs with intent to deliver and involuntary manslaughter.

Yelton, who has not been arraigned yet, faces the same charges, according to online court records. Yelton is in a Pennsylvania state prison on unrelated charges, according to police.

Additionally, three other people are accused of being involved in purchasing the heroin that killed Smith. Joseph Guy Paul, 28, and Diana Lynn Williams, 54, of Hampstead, Maryland, were charged with drug delivery resulting in death and involuntary manslaughter, among other charges, according to online court records.

Police have filed the same charges against Jacob Darren Largent, 21, also from Hampstead, Maryland.

Denise Crone

Allegations: At about 9 p.m. Dec. 11, 2015, West Manheim Township Police were sent to 1526 Oakwood Drive for a report of cardiac arrest. When police arrived, Smith was found on her back, unresponsive, in the hallway, police said.

Yelton, Smith's boyfriend, said she had taken 15 mg of Percocet and that she was found face down in the bathtub, documents state. Yelton told officials he removed her from the tub and gave her CPR, police said.

Smith was taken to Hanover Hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 9:30 p.m.

Initially, Yelton told police that Smith had not used heroin and had only taken the Percocet, documents state. Police say Yelton was "extremely upset and sweating profusely," while speaking with officials.

He was seen punching a wall with his fist, slamming a kitchen door and kicking a baby gate, documents state.

"Yelton was overheard stating, 'I killed her' two separate times as he moved about within the residence," the responding officer wrote in charging documents.

The next day, Yelton spoke with police, reiterating what he had said, police said.

"He said he did not purchase any drugs for her and doesn't know how she got the two Percocet pills," charging documents state.

In January 2016, Smith's autopsy results came back, revealing her cause of death to be "mixed substance toxicity," police said.

"The combination of drugs was lethal," charging documents state.

Purchases: A few days after Yelton spoke with officials, police obtained a search warrant for Yelton's and Smith's cellphones, police said.

Before Smith's death, police say there was talk of a drug transaction among Yelton, Crone and Paul, charging documents allege.

In February 2016, police spoke with Scott Bowers and Ronald Fraley III, inmates at Camp Hill State Prison, who said they met with Yelton about two weeks after Smith's death. During their visit, Yelton allegedly told them he had given Smith heroin, and she overdosed and died, court documents state. He told them it was the first time she had tried heroin, police allege.

Police spoke to Yelton about two weeks later and requested that he come to the station to hear the results of Smith's autopsy, documents state.

"I know what the results were, I know that she had heroin in her system, I know where it came from, I'm going to fill you in," Yelton allegedly said, according to charging documents.

It wasn't until early May that Yelton told authorities what he had told Fraley and Bowers, documents state. He also admitted he had gotten Percocet pills from Crone, police allege.

Yelton told officials that he had reached out to his friend Paul to see if he could get some heroin, police said. Paul said the man up the street from him, Largent, had heroin, and that he and his mother, Williams, could get some for Yelton, charging documents allege.

Diana Williams

Yelton met with the two at their Hampstead, Maryland, home, and gave Williams $80 for the heroin, police said. When speaking to police, Paul said Yelton gave Williams a little bit of the heroin, court documents state. Police said Paul admitted to using some of that heroin, and he almost overdosed that night.

After the transaction, Yelton took the heroin home and gave it to Smith, charging documents state.

When police asked Yelton why he said he killed her, Yelton said he felt partially responsible for her death, police said.

"Yeah, I felt I killed her, that was the first time she did dope, I gave her the bag, she trusted me to give her the right amount to get off, to get high, and I dropped the ball, it came through my contacts, I reached out and got the s—, I'm partially responsible for this," Yelton said, according to charging documents.

At the end of May, police spoke with Crone, who said that on two separate occasions, she had gone into town to see a lady and got Yelton 15 mg Percocet pills, police said.

She said the pills were actually oxycodone pills, documents state. Police say she was asked for a time frame for when she purchased the pills for Yelton, but she refused to answer.

Charges:  West Manheim Township Police filed charges against Crone and Yelton on Wednesday. They filed charges against Largent, Paul and Williams on Thursday.

Joseph Paul

Largent had not been arraigned on the charges as of Friday, according to online court records.

Crone, Paul, and Williams were all arraigned as of Friday and remanded to York County Prison in lieu of $50,000 bail each. Williams posted bail and was released. It is unclear if any have an attorney.

Their preliminary hearing is scheduled for 3 p.m. April 4 at District Judge James S. Miner's office.

— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at or on Twitter at @YDDornblaser.