Yorker accused of attacking OD victim was trying to save her, attorney says
A York City woman originally charged with felony assault for allegedly attacking her friend — who was overdosing on a powerful synthetic opioid — was trying to save the friend's life, according to her defense attorney.
"Her intent was to help this person," public defender Hollianne Snyder told The York Dispatch on Tuesday, Oct. 30.
Trisha Nicole George, 31, appeared in York County Court on Oct. 15 and pleaded guilty to a third-degree misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct.
In exchange for her plea, charges of aggravated assault, simple assault and reckless endangerment were dismissed, court records state.
As part of the agreement, she was sentenced to a year of probation by Common Pleas Judge Maria Musti Cook and ordered to perform 25 hours of community service and to continue with drug and alcohol counseling, records state.
"My client was always adamant that she was attempting to revive the victim," Snyder said. "She has known (the woman) from childhood; she was a family friend of sorts."
Senior deputy prosecutor Justin Roberts said the victim in the case didn't oppose George's plea agreement.
"The decision was not come to lightly (by the prosecution)," he said. "It was only decided after discussions with law enforcement and the victim in this case."
The background: York City Police said a city woman went to George's former home in the 400 block of West King Street on Jan. 20, 2017, and was given what she thought was heroin by George's former boyfriend, Christopher Waltz.
The woman snorted the drug and overdosed on what was later determined to be the powerful opioid carfentanil, police have said.
Police had alleged George repeatedly struck the woman in the head and upper body while she was overdosing and also threw water on her.
"There was no attack," Snyder said. "She was actually trying to revive the alleged victim."
Waltz, 30, of Winter Haven, Florida, remains on the lam, charged with opioid possession with intent to deliver and reckless endangerment.
'Success story': Snyder described George as "one of our success stories" in the York County Public Defender's Office.
"She's taken all the steps necessary to turn her life around and make herself a productive member of society," Snyder said. "She's fully employed, is a hard worker and was in treatment for a substance-abuse issue. ... That's all we can ask of her."
George has had no contact with Waltz since January 2017, her attorney said.
Roberts said there is an active arrest warrant for Waltz. Anyone with information on his whereabouts can call 911.
About the drug: Carfentanil is 10,000 times more potent than morphine and 100 times more potent than fentanyl, which itself is 50 times more potent than heroin, according to the federal Drug Enforcement Agency.
It can be fatal in low doses and is used to sedate large animals, including elephants, officials have said.
"Carfentanil and other fentanyl-related compounds are a serious danger to public safety, first responder, medical, treatment and laboratory personnel," according to the DEA, and it "can be absorbed through the skin or accidental inhalation of airborne powder."
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at email@example.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.