West York man gets up to 15 years in prison in drug death

A West York man could spend up to 15 years in prison for providing the fatal drugs that led to the death of a York City man last year.

Robert Helf, 21, pleaded guilty to drug delivery resulting in death and possession of drugs with intent to deliver in June.

On Wednesday, Aug. 22, Common Pleas Judge Craig T. Trebilcock sentenced Helf to 7½ years to 15 years in prison, according to online court records.

Those court records state he must also complete a GED program and undergo mental health and drug treatment. 

According to York City Police, Helf sold drugs to Nathan Heberlig in February 2017. Heberlig, 19, was found dead in a bed in a York City home Feb. 3, 2017, police have said.

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Robert Helf

Heroin: Police were called to a home on Atlantic Avenue about 2 p.m. Feb. 3, 2017, for a report of an overdose. When police arrived, they found Heberlig dead in his bed.

An autopsy confirmed Heberlig's death was caused by heroin and fentanyl toxicity.

While examining Heberlig's phone, police say, they found text messages between Heberlig and a number that was later identified as Helf's.

Heberlig had texted Helf on Feb. 1, 2017, asking to get 1½ bundles of heroin, police said. According to court documents, Helf told him it would be $120 and asked him to meet at a home in West York.

Police say the text messages show that Heberlig went to the home and that the next day Helf texted Heberlig, asking if he still needed the half bundle, to which Heberlig said he did.

On Feb. 3, 2017, Helf sent another text, telling Heberlig to give him $40 for the half bundle, documents state.

During an interview with Heberlig's girlfriend, she told police the two went to Helf's grandmother's home about 9 p.m. Feb. 2 to purchase heroin for the two of them, documents state. She told police the two exclusively bought heroin through Helf, whom she knew as "Bobby," police said.

A search warrant on a phone number led police to Helf, documents state. Police say they then created a photo lineup and presented it to Heberlig's girlfriend, who picked Helf out as the person Heberlig bought heroin from, according to police.

Helf's attorney declined comment when reached Thursday, Aug. 23. 

— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at cdornblaser@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @YDDornblaser.