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Jodie Tierney seeks freedom as she appeals conviction

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch

Jodie Tierney, the Red Lion-area woman convicted of providing alcohol to teens at her home — including two who died in a fiery 2015 crash — is asking to be freed, at least for now.

Tierney, 46, of Percheron Drive in Windsor Township, is serving a 2½- to six-year sentence in state prison for her crimes.

Cody Stern, a 2014 Red Lion Area Senior High School graduate, front, is comforted by Red Lion student Lindsay Wilhelm at a memorial built at the base of a utility pole on Slab Road in Lower Chanceford Township for their friends and classmates Stone Hill and Nicholas Mankin on the day after the two Red Lion students died in a fiery crash.
(Dawn Sagert photo)

But her new Philadelphia-based attorney, Demetra Mehta, has filed a motion asking that Tierney be released on bail pending the appeal of her conviction.

"The decision of the defendant not to admit culpability or not to assist in an investigation shall not be reason to impose additional or more restrictive conditions of bail on the defendant," Mehta wrote in the motion.

Presiding Common Pleas Judge Maria Musti Cook scheduled a hearing on the matter for 1:30 p.m. Nov. 21, according to court records.

Tierney was led away in handcuffs after Cook imposed sentence Aug. 29. A jury convicted Tierney on July 20 of two counts each of involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment and one count each of corruption of minors and furnishing alcohol to minors.

'Overwhelming guilt': The judge excoriated both Tierney and her husband and co-defendant, Stephen D. Tierney, during the couple's sentencing hearing.

Cook said the Tierneys took "minimal accountability" for their actions despite their "overwhelming guilt."

"The parenting displayed (by the Tierneys) in this case rivals some of the worst I've ever seen," the judge said.

While handing down the sentences, Cook said the Tierneys should get down on their hands and knees and give thanks daily that it wasn't one of their own two sons who died, "because neither of them did anything to prevent that from happening."

"Was it vanity? Or wanting to be a popular parent?" the judge wondered. "I'm at a loss to understand."

Stone Hill, left, and Nicholas Mankin.

The background: Stone Hill, 17, and Nick Mankin, 16, were killed shortly after 7 p.m. June 16, 2015, when Stone lost control of his SUV, which flipped, slammed into a utility pole and burst into flames on Slab Road in Lower Chanceford Township, just minutes from Stone's home.

They were on their way to Stone's house from the Tierney home, where they had spent the day hanging out, swimming and drinking, according to prosecution testimony.

Chief deputy prosecutor Tim Barker has described the teen drinking parties at the Tierney home as "ragers."

From December 2014 to June 2015, there was vomiting, passing out and one occasion of bed-wetting, he said. One young man was body-slammed by a friend for trying to inappropriately touch girls, he said.

Jodie Tierney

One of the young men became so drunk on rum he was unresponsive and literally had to be carried to his father's car, according to testimony, but still the Tierneys didn't alert any parents.

Barker has called Jodie Tierney's inaction "the epitome of indifference" toward the teens and scoffed at her assertion that she had no idea all that drinking was going on in her home. Judge Cook also has said in court she doesn't believe the statements Jodie Tierney made about the circumstances leading up to the fatal crash.

More:Prison for woman who gave alcohol to Red Lion teens killed in DUI crash

More:Witness: Tierney said 'she does what she wants - it's her rules'

Probation for husband: Stephen Tierney, 47, was sentenced to three years of probation and 175 hours of community service and ordered to attend DUI classes and pay a $750 fine and court costs.

He pleaded guilty July 10, on the eve of trial, to corruption of minors and furnishing alcohol to minors.

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 on one occasion.

Stephen Tierney leaves the York County Judicial Center after being sentenced to three years of probation, 175 hours of community service, DUI classes and a $750 fine, on Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017.
(John A. Pavoncello photo)

He remains at home with their 13-year-old son.

Kyle King, spokesman for the York County District Attorney's Office, declined comment about the defense motion seeking bail pending appeal, saying it would be premature for anyone in the office to comment prior to the hearing.

Mehta did not return a phone message seeking comment.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.