State prison for Spring Grove-area heroin dealer tied to 2 fatal ODs
A Spring Grove-area drug dealer is going to state prison for twice selling heroin to customers who fatally overdosed.
Shane G. Ditzler, 26, of Kopp Road in Jackson Township, pleaded guilty Monday, Feb. 25, to two counts of felony drug delivery resulting in death, according to court records.
He was sentenced to five to 10 years in prison for each death and was given credit for time served, according to defense attorney Seamus Dubbs. Ditzler has been held in York County Prison since March 2, 2017, according to prison records.
The York County District Attorney's Office said Ditzler helped them secure a seven- to 14-year prison sentence against drug supplier Brandon Cole Beatty, 37, of the York area, by testifying against Beatty at trial.
"(Prosecutors) took into account his cooperation from the start as well as what his role was in both these cases," Dubbs said.
The attorney said Ditzler was selling heroin to support his own addiction to opioids.
"He's a lot healthier now," Dubbs said, noting that Ditzler has been clean since being committed to York County Prison on his charges nearly two years ago. "The question becomes what he does when he gets out of prison."
First fatal OD: Northern York County Regional Police said Ditzler sold heroin to Brian Reed Jr. on Aug. 11, 2016.
Reed, 26, of Jackson Township, was found in a neighbor's yard about lunchtime Aug. 12, 2016, acting disoriented and possibly intoxicated, according to police.
A responding officer determined Reed was showing signs of opioid overdose, including unconsciousness, shallow breathing and snoring, charging documents state.
The officer administered two doses of the heroin antidote naloxone, known as Narcan, to Reed but could not revive him. Reed was rushed to York Hospital in critical condition and died there Aug. 13, 2016, according to police. Reed's family told investigators he had struggled with opioid addiction, police said.
At the time he sold the heroin to Reed, Ditzler was a fugitive from justice with a felony warrant.
He told Northern Regional investigators that he acted as a middleman in heroin deals to support his own habit, police said.
Ditzler became "instantly upset and nauseated" when police told him Reed had died, court documents state.
Reed was a free spirit with a "no-worries attitude" and "goofy personality" that lifted the spirits of those around him, according to his obituary.
He fought a long, difficult battle with addiction but "rarely lost his smile and never lost his faith," the obituary states, adding he loved life, people and football.
Second fatal OD: In spring 2017, Northern Regional Police charged Ditzler, Beatty and Jamel Tuff with drug delivery resulting in death for the Dec. 23, 2016, overdose death of De'Andre Gaskins,
Police said Beatty sold the deadly drug to Ditzler and Tuff, who then sold some of the drugs to Gaskins.
Gaskins, 21, was found unconscious in his Jackson Township home and was rushed to York Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, police said.
A 2014 graduate of Spring Grove Area High School, Gaskins was attending Clarion University at the time of his death, according to his obituary.
He enjoyed all sports and was a radio commentator for the Clarion Eagles, his obituary states.
Tuff, 26, of Hanover, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter for his role in Gaskins' death. He was sentenced to a year of house arrest and four years of probation and was given other conditions as well, including a 9 p.m. curfew, attending addiction group meetings and performing community service.
Also Monday, Ditzler pleaded guilty in three other cases, two for dealing drugs and one for possessing drugs, Dubbs confirmed. His punishments in those cases run concurrently with Ditzler's state prison sentence.
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.