Mom of booze-sick teen: Tierney told me there was no drinking
The mother of a young man who became drunk and unresponsive at the home of Jodie L. Tierney testified Friday that Tierney had previously assured her she didn't allow teens to drink at her house.
Nick Argento, then 16, had to be carried from Tierney's 80 Percheron Drive home in Windsor Township just a few hours before Stone Hill and Nick Mankin were killed in a fiery crash after leaving the Tierney home.
In fact, it was Stone and Nick Mankin who carried Nick Argento to his father's car, according to testimony.
Nick's parents, Shari and Joe Argento Jr., told jurors their son didn't have permission to drink anywhere. They said they knew their son was going to the Tierney home to hang out with Jodie's son but had no idea there was underage drinking going on there.
Shari Argento said when her son started spending time at the Tierney home, she stopped by and introduced herself to Tierney.
'Not allowed to drink': She said she saw 5-gallon jugs on the kitchen counter, and Tierney said she was making wine.
Shari Argento said she asked Tierney, "You mean to tell me the kids aren't testing this out?" and that Tierney told her they weren't.
She said Jodie took her to the basement to show her where the group of teens hung out, and that there were games and activities there.
"I asked again if the kids were drinking, and she said no, the kids were not allowed to drink alcohol," Shari Argento testified.
She said after that, she felt comfortable allowing her son to sleep over at the Tierney home one night a week "because she told me she would not allow drinking."
Other parents also testified throughout the week that they were unaware teens drank at the Tierney home, and a few have said Tierney told them she didn't allow underage drinking at her house.
Unresponsive: Joe Argento Jr. testified his daughter called him about 4 p.m. June 16, 2015, and summoned him to the Tierney home because his son was unresponsive. The sister had been summoned there by Nick Mankin, according to testimony.
Joe Argento said he found Nick Argento lying on a bed.
"There was no movement at all from him — no movement, no sound," he said. "Nothing."
Joe Argento said he checked to make sure his son was breathing, then started yelling at him and shaking him, trying to get a response.
Joe Argento said that after his son started responding, he turned his attention to the other teens, asking them what had happened. He said he was told his son "had guzzled a half a bottle of rum."
Around that time, Tierney and husband Stephen D. Tierney showed up, he said.
'Got to stop': He said Stephen Tierney "seemed nervous, upset, scared" and started to apologize to him.
"Stephen turned to Jodie and said ... 'This has got to stop,'" he testified.
He said he didn't hear whether Jodie Tierney replied.
Earlier this week, Dylan Gurreri, one of the teens who said they drank freely at the Tierney home, testified he overheard Stephen Tierney make much the same statement to his wife.
Gurreri testified Jodie Tierney "pretty much told him she does what she wants — it's her rules."
During Friday's cross-examination by defense attorney Doug Bare, Joe and Shari Argento, as well as their daughter Carissa, said neither Stone nor Nick Mankin appeared to be intoxicated.
The crash: Co-prosecutors Tim Barker and Sarah Buhite have told jurors that Stone, 17, and 16-year-old Nick were killed when Stone's Toyota 4Runner crashed into a utility pole near Stone's home about 7 p.m. June 16, 2015, on the way home from the Tierney home.
The SUV burst into flames and burned to the point that it was unrecognizable, but York County Deputy Coroner Jeffri Goodfellow testified earlier last week that the boys were most likely already dead before the SUV caught fire.
Stone's blood-alcohol level was 0.094 percent. In Pennsylvania, an adult is driving drunk at 0.08 percent. The prosecution is arguing Jodie Tierney is responsible for the deaths because she allowed teens to drink at her home with no rules or repercussions.
Bare, the defense attorney, is questioning the accuracy of Stone's blood-alcohol testing result and also whether Stone was even driving his SUV. That's apparently because police didn't have Nick's blood tested for alcohol, meaning if jurors question who was behind the wheel, it likely exonerates his client of manslaughter.
Jury sees text: Sylvia Frey, whose son played high-school football with the Tierneys' son, testified she alerted state police to a text exchange she had with Jodie Tierney on June 24. She didn't say what year, but it appears that was in 2015, about a week after the fatal crash.
Frey's texts ask Jodie Tierney for more information and indicate Frey had "concerns" about Snapchat photos and Facebook messages she'd seen.
Jodie Tierney texted back, "NO the boys were not drinking here" and also texted that toxicology tests on both Stone and Nick "came back negative."
She also texted Frey that "It angers Steve and I" that people are "running their mouths."
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.
Stephen Tierney's guilty plea was not for the deaths of Stone and Nick — it was for allowing the group of teens to drink at his home.
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.