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York County judge sentences 'peddler of poison' to max
A York County judge has handed down the maximum penalty to a Maryland drug dealer for selling heroin to a Fawn Township man who fatally overdosed on it in 2014.
Common Pleas Judge Gregory M. Snyder called Mitchell Peck Jr. a "peddler of poison" and said that nothing but a long prison term could protect the public from him, according to senior deputy prosecutor Jared Mellot.
Peck, 25, of Sykesville, appeared in York County Court on Friday, Sept. 1, at which point Snyder sentenced him to 20 to 40 years in state prison.
Snyder then ordered that Peck's sentence run consecutive to any other prison terms in any other jurisdictions.
Mellot said Peck is currently serving a de facto four-year sentence in Maryland for narcotics distribution.
Peck's defense attorney, Joshua Neiderhiser, confirmed his client received the maximum sentence allowed under state law.
Neiderhiser said Peck will appeal. He declined additional comment.
Multiple convictions: Mellot described Peck as a merchant of death and noted Peck had been convicted of dealing drugs in three different states prior to selling a fatal dose of heroin to Kevin Hunt.
"He obviously had many chances to correct himself ... and now he's caused the death of another person," the prosecutor said. "He was dealing for money. He had a job elsewhere but was still doing this. ... In fairness, the defendant did say in court that he was an addict trying to support his habit. But that's the first time I heard that."
Hunt, 23, was found dead in his Fawn Township home on Dec. 10, 2014.
Testing found the remnants of heroin in his system, as well as alcohol and prescription medication he hadn't been prescribed, according to Mellot.
The prosecutor said he primarily proved his case at trial using text exchanges between Hunt and Peck.
"In one of the text messages, the victim referred to (Peck) as 'the king of his business,'" Mellot said, adding Hunt bought "rock heroin" from Peck, which Peck passed off as extra strong, extra pure heroin, "right off the brick."
Judge Snyder likened it to a car salesman bragging about his wares, according to the prosecutor.
Peck knew Hunt didn't have a high tolerance for heroin but sold it to him anyway after the two met up at a Maryland convenience store, Mellot said.
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.