Prison for West Manchester opioid addict whose friend fatally OD'd
A West Manchester Township man acquitted last month of providing the drugs that killed his friend on Christmas Day 2017 has been sentenced for dealing opioids in that case and a separate one.
Aaron Hinds, 26, appeared Wednesday, April 24, in York County Court, where he was sentenced to six months to two years in state prison in each of two drug-dealing cases, with that time to be served concurrently.
He has spent more than 420 days in prison already but received no credit for the time he has served.
Hinds is currently serving a two- to four-year sentence for violating his York County drug-court requirements in a 2016 theft case, according to his defense attorney, Diana Spurlin.
"I'm sorry for what I did," Hinds said in court. "I've been battling heroin addiction for ... years now."
"He has always taken responsibility for everything that he did," Spurlin told The York Dispatch after the sentencing hearing.
Hinds started taking drugs when he was 11 years old and was using heroin by the time he was 14, according to Spurlin.
"Once he's released (from prison), it will be his longest period of sobriety ... since he was 11," she said. "He definitely does not want to return to York County — there are too many triggers here for him."
Hinds' short-term goals after being released will be to enter rehab, then to enroll in a trade school and learn a skill, according to Spurlin.
He is precluded from enrolling in drug-treatment programs at state prison because he had a year and a half of sobriety, then relapsed, but only briefly — and also because he abandoned his drug-court program, according to Hinds and Spurlin.
Hinds attends Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings in prison, the attorney confirmed.
He is the son of West Manchester Township Sgt. Patrick Hinds.
The background: A jury on March 6 acquitted Hinds of providing the drugs to A. Raymond Dunkelberger, who was found dead on Dec. 25, 2017.
Northern York County Regional Police said Hinds sold a bundle of opioids marked "SELFIE" to Dunkelberger a few days before his overdose. The bag marked "SELFIE" was unopened, Spurlin argued at trial.
Ray Dunkelberger, 28, was found unresponsive in his Conewago Township home, police said. He was taken to Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead a few hours later.
Dunkelberger and Hinds had been friends for years, and their families were close, according to Spurlin.
"These kids all grew up together," she said.
Although jurors acquitted Hinds of drug delivery resulting in death — which carries a maximum possible sentence of 20 to 40 years in prison — they convicted him of fentanyl possession with intent to deliver.
Hinds told investigators in January 2018 that he had been clean for more than a year until he relapsed in early December 2017, court documents state.
Philly drugs: Police said Dunkelberger had asked Hinds to get him heroin on Dec. 21, 2017. Hinds drove to Philadelphia, where he purchased 15 bags from a street dealer, according to documents.
Hinds warned Dunkelberger not to use more than a quarter of a bag and that the drugs were more potent than anything he'd had before, court documents state.
Dunkelberger was a 2007 West York Area Senior High School graduate and later attended Harrisburg Area Community College, according to his obituary.
He enjoyed music and history and was a painter, according to his obituary.
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at email@example.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.