Oped: Barker helped family who lost son to heroin

Charlene Sciarretta
York County

Thirteen years ago I buried my son, Danny. On May 13, 2004, a man answered Danny’s cell phone and identified himself as the detective investigating my son’s death. Our world came to a screeching halt, and our lives were never going to be the same. The emptiness that we felt was and still is indescribable.

Thirteen years ago, Danny Sciarretta lost his battle with heroin. His family recalls county judge candidate as caring and effective.

At the young age of 26, Danny lost his battle with heroin — a road he took at a young age. Due to choices made that night, Danny’s death became a criminal investigation. That’s when we met Tim Barker from the District Attorney’s office of York. Our lives changed again. It was as if Tim knew Danny — his words to us helped calmed the storm and allowed us to sit in a courtroom listening to the horrifying facts about that night.

Tim was the lead prosecutor in Danny’s case and he defended my son’s name. He spoke in such a manner that everyone knew Danny — the person behind the stigma of a “heroin junkie.”  Tim’s words in that court room brought us some peace and more importantly — justice for Danny. Everyone needs to be held accountable — that’s justice, not revenge. Tim became not just a prosecutor for us, but a friend. Over the years, he never stopped remembering Danny.

When my husband and I took the journey to amend a Senate bill with Pennsylvania legislators that would change the offense against Danny from a misdemeanor to felony, second degree, Tim was first to support us. He has never lost interest in this endeavor. When we presented our case for Dante’s Law to Sen. Scott Wagner, Tim spoke on our behalf. He spoke so eloquently — it was as if we were back in that courtroom again.

Over the years, Tim has supported me when I’ve spoken publicly — in Harrisburg supporting victims’ rights, and as a member of the York Opioid Collaborative. When the York Opioid Collaborative (originally called the York Heroin Task Force) was created, Tim was quick to speak on my behalf and recommended me as part of that team. Tim’s efforts and dedication to drug court treatment has been tireless. His goal is to keep offenders off the streets and to reduce the prison system reentry numbers.

Tim’s knowledge, passion and heart have shown through in whatever he sets out to accomplish. He knows the people of York and their interests are always first. York County deserves a judge like Tim Barker — a man who would not let them down.

Vote Tim Barker for York County judge.

Charlene Sciarretta