CHAMBERSBURG — A jury on Wednesday found a Spring Run man guilty of selling prescription opioid pills that resulted in an overdose death in 2016.
Shannon R. Watts, 30, was on trial this week on charges of Drug Delivery Resulting in Death, Delivery of Schedule II Controlled Substance and Unlawful Use of a Communication Facility.
After hearing two full days of testimony in the trial that began Monday, followed by closing arguments on Wednesday, the jury came back with a guilty verdict Wednesday.
It took the jury only about two hours to reach their verdict.
Shannon R. Watts is the first person convicted at trial in Franklin County on a charge of Drug Delivery Resulting in Death. District Attorney Matthew D. Fogal hailed the conviction as a “landmark” in the county’s struggle to bring the opioid crisis under control.
The charges stemmed from the 2016 overdose of Allen Chapman, 45, Dry Run, after he ingested prescription pills provided by Watts.
According to testimony, the victim had — among other factors which led to his death — a lethal amount of oxymorphone, an opioid Schedule II Controlled Substance, in his system at the time of his death.
‘A Landmark Day in Struggle With Opioid Crisis’
“This is a landmark day in Franklin County’s struggle with the Opioid Crisis,” Fogal said. “There were skeptics who thought that these cases couldn’t be won.”
He said that made the prosecution’s teamwork that much harder.
Fogal praised the work of Pennsylvania State Police, the Franklin County Drug Task Force and members of his office who worked to gather evidence in the case and successfully prosecute it.
Fogal said Pennsylvania State Police were able to quickly develop leads following Chapman’s death. Once they identified Watts as the dealer who sold the drugs to Chapman, they arranged controlled buys of additional pills.
According to evidence presented at trial, Watts sold four opioid pills to Chapman on October 24, 2016. After snorting the pills, Chapman returned home and died the following morning.
Evidence included copies of cell phone texts between Watts and the confidential informant who made those controlled buys. The pills Watts sold to the informant were also presented as evidence.
“Allen Chapman had a disease, and Shannon Watts preyed upon and profited from that sickness,” Fogal said. “Justice has been rendered for Allen Chapman and to Shannon Watts.”
After entry of the verdict, Judge Jeremiah Zook raised Watts bail to $100,000. He is currently being held in Franklin County Jail awaiting sentencing, scheduled for August 4.