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Jurors hear Jodie Tierney's taped phone conversation with teen's mom
Jurors on Monday listened to an hour-long wiretapped conversation between Jodie Tierney and the mother of fatal crash victim Stone Hill, during which Tierney repeatedly denied knowing teens drank at her home.
State police Cpl. Jon Colarusso, the lead investigator in the case, asked Tina Hill if she would be willing to call Tierney from the state police barracks and engage her in conversation so police could record it. She agreed, and the call happened the afternoon of Aug. 21, two months after the crash, according to testimony.
Early on during the conversation, Tierney tells the grieving mother, "Steve and I have been through sheer hell," adding that she was taking doctor-prescribed medication. "Every time we think the rumors stop, they start back up again."
Those "rumors" were about teens drinking at the Tierney home and about Jodie Tierney supplying alcohol.
Jodie Tierney also claimed Stone Hill told her 10-year-old son that "you should really appreciate your mom and dad because they're really good people."
Allowed drinking? Tierney, 46, of Percheron Drive in Windsor Township, is accused of allowing her high-school-age son and his friends to drink at her home without rules or repercussions. Witnesses have testified that Tierney bought the teens alcohol on three occasions.
There was a teen drinking party at the Tierney home the evening of June 15, 2015 and several young people slept over.
The next morning, several of them stayed and kept drinking, despite Jodie and Stephen D. Tierney having gone to work that morning and despite their son, Steve, having gone to cheer camp. According to testimony, the teens stayed there much of the day and drank.
Shortly after 7 p.m. June 16, 2015, Stone Hill, 17, and 16-year-old Nick Mankin died when Stone's SUV crashed into a utility pole and burned on Slab Road in Lower Chanceford Township, just two minutes from the Hill home. Police say they had just left the Tierney home.
Co-prosecutors Tim Barker and Sarah Buhite allege Jodie Tierney is criminally responsible for the fatal crash.
This is the second week of her trial in York County Court. She remains free on bail, charged with two counts each of involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment and one count each of corruption of minors and furnishing alcohol to minors.
Wiretapped conversation: During the recorded conversation, Tina Hill told Jodie Tierney over and over that Stone's friends and their parents told her and her husband that teens drank at the Tierney home.
"As far as Steve and I know, that didn't happen," Jodie Tierney replied.
When Tina Hill said she'd been told about teen Nick Argento drinking too much rum and becoming ill at the Tierneys' home, Jodie Tierney said she didn't know about that.
Numerous people — including Nick Argento, his parents and his sister — previously testified that a barely responsive Nick Argento had to be carried to his father's car from the Tierney home just a few hours before the fatal crash.
'This has got to stop': The Tierneys got home in time to witness that. Joe Argento Jr., Nick Argento's father, testified last week that he overheard Stephen Tierney tell his wife, "this has got to stop."
Later in the recorded conversation, Jodie Tierney volunteered information that on one occasion, she found the teens in her basement, each with a beer.
"I said, 'What the hell is going on down here?'" she told Tina Hill.
She claimed the teens told her they'd each taken just a sip, and all agreed the beer "tasted like s—."
Jodie Tierney then told Tina Hill that she said this to the teens: "I will tell your parents. This is not allowed in my house."
A number of teens testified last week that they were unconcerned about the Tierneys calling their parents about underage drinking.
Tina Hill mentioned she heard rumors that Jodie Tierney bought the teens alcohol when they were doing yard work at the Tierney home on Mother's Day — which several people testified to.
"I have no idea, to be quite honest with you," Jodie Tierney replied. "I have no knowledge of them doing ... any of this."
DUI crash: Stone's blood-alcohol level was 0.094 percent. In Pennsylvania, an adult is driving drunk at 0.08 percent.
Defense attorney Doug Bare 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.
He also is trying to show that Stone might have been texting or using his iPhone in some other way when the crash happened.
Guilty plea: Stephen D. Tierney, 46, pleaded guilty last week 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.