More Red Lion teens, parents testify against Jodie Tierney
Prosecutors in the manslaughter trial of Windsor Township resident Jodie L. Tierney called more Red Lion-area young adults and their parents to the witness stand Thursday to bolster previous testimony.
A number of former Red Lion Area High School students have testified this week that they were allowed to drink alcohol at Tierney's home, and that she bought it for them on three occasions.
The parents have so far all testified that while they knew their children were hanging out at Tierney's 80 Percheron Drive home, they were unaware their children drank there and said they wouldn't have allowed it.
The youths were friends with Tierney's older son, who also was a Red Lion Area High School student.
According to testimony, there was an underage drinking party at the Tierney home the night of June 15, 2015, and several young men slept over.
The next day, 17-year-old Stone Hill, 16-year-old Nick Mankin and others woke up and continued drinking for much of the day, according to testimony.
Sheared off pole: About 7 p.m. June 16, 2015, Stone and Nick were on their way to Stone's house from the Tierney home when they were killed in a fiery crash in the 200 block of Slab Road in Lower Chanceford Township.
Stone's 2002 Toyota 4Runner sheared off a utility pole and burned to the point that the SUV was unrecognizable, state police have said.
At the time, Stone's blood-alcohol level was 0.094 percent, according to police. In Pennsylvania, an adult is driving drunk at 0.08 percent.
Both Stone and Nick would have been Red Lion Area seniors, and both would have been on the high school's varsity football team, according to their coach.
Under questioning by co-prosecutors Tim Barker and Sarah Buhite, a number of young people testified this week that Jodie Tierney never took their car keys, even when she saw them drinking.
Defense strategy: During his cross-examination of those witnesses, defense attorney Douglas Bare succeeded in getting the witnesses to confirm they drank alcohol at other locations besides the Tierney home.
Bare also elicited testimony from the young adults that Stone bought beer on a number of occasions from a Lancaster County beer distributor.
His opening statement and earlier questioning suggest Bare intends to challenge the validity of Stone's blood-alcohol test result, and he could argue that Nick was driving Stone's SUV.
That's because Nick's blood was never tested for alcohol. If jurors believe Nick was driving, it would likely exonerate Tierney of her involuntary manslaughter charges, since there's no record of how much alcohol was in Nick's system.
Testimony: On Thursday, Barker and Buhite called to the stand Kelly Gurreri, the mother of Dylan Gurreri. She testified her son wasn't allowed to drink alcohol and that she had no idea he was doing so at the Tierney home.
On Wednesday afternoon, Dylan Gurreri testified he overheard Tierney's husband, Stephen D. Tierney, tell his wife "it has to stop."
Now 19, Dylan Gurreri said he also heard Jodie Tierney's response:
"She pretty much told him she does what she wants — it's her rules," he testified.
Also testifying Thursday were Corey Shane, another member of the group of friends, and his mother, Laura Shane.
Unaware: Laura Shane said she recalls her son going to the Tierney home about five to eight times. Like the other parents, she also said her son was not allowed to drink and that she was unaware the Tierneys allowed it.
She said Corey would not have been allowed at the Tierney home had she known.
Brian Haight testified he played high school football with the Tierney's older son and said he went to their home seven to 10 times.
He said he drank alcohol every time or nearly every time he visited and testified that Jodie Tierney bought it for them on two occasions.
"Beer, whiskey — (we drank) anything we could get our hands on," Haight said. "(It was) just a carefree environment."
What's next: Barker and Buhite said they hope to rest the prosecution's case Monday.
They said that on Friday, they intend to question Nick Argento, a young man who became incapacitated on alcohol at the Tierney home and had to be taken home by his father.
The father, Joe Argento, also is expected to testify Friday, Buhite said.
Guilty plea: Stephen D. Tierney, 46, pleaded guilty Monday to corruption of minors and furnishing alcohol to minors. He had been scheduled to stand trial with his wife.
His charges of involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment will be dropped at his Aug. 21 sentencing, according to the judge.
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.