CLEARFIELD – A Brockway woman pleaded guilty Tuesday to involuntary manslaughter in connection to the death of a woman who died after taking heroin laced with Fentanyl.
Catherine Marie Quashnock, 28, was originally charged by DuBois City police with several felony offenses including drug delivery resulting in death.
According to the affidavit, an investigation began after a man and woman both suffered multi-drug overdoses and lost consciousness at a residence on South Franklin Street on May 1.
The woman died but the man survived due to emergency medical intervention. When he regained consciousness, he told police he had purchased four packets of heroin from Quashnock that they consumed before passing out.
When she was questioned, she admitted to selling him the drugs. The empty packets tested positive for heroin and Fentanyl.
An autopsy of the woman revealed she had heroin, Fentanyl and methamphetamine in her system.
In his report, the autopsy doctor stated that “clearly, the dominant chemicals causing death in this patient are of course Fentanyl and heroin.”
On Monday during colloquy court, Quashnock’s attorney, Adam Bishop, reviewed her life saying she suffered from a food addiction due to childhood trauma. After gastric bypass surgery, her addiction switched to alcohol and drugs.
He pointed out that she had no prior criminal record and is very sorry for the “role” she played in the victim’s death.
“Decent people can do indecent things when addicted to drugs.”
Quashnock’s “heart goes out to” the victim’s mother, he said, and she did not knowingly put Fentanyl in the heroin as the mother claims.
In fact, Quashnock had used packets of the same drug that she bought from someone else marked “jet fuel,” with no problems.
This is why at one point, she claimed another man had been with the couple when they took the drugs and was the one responsible for the death of the woman, Bishop explained.
Bishop also defended accusations by a DuBois City police officer that while incarcerated Quashnock continued to sell drugs. This conclusion was made after listening to calls involving Quashnock while she was in the county jail.
He stated they only listened to calls during the first two months she was incarcerated while she was still “withdrawing from heroin” and that after she was “clean,” she stopped talking about this.
The officer also addressed the court saying that the subpoena he had only covered calls made until July but additional calls will be examined at a later date.
Because of this behavior, District Attorney Ryan Sayers told President Judge Fredric J. Ammerman that “a long term of incarceration is appropriate.”
Ammerman then sentenced Quashnock to a total of four to 11 years in state prison for proceeds of unlawful activities, possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, criminal use of communication facility, and involuntary manslaughter in this case and for an additional case of possession with intent to deliver methamphetamine.
She was also ordered to pay $2,399 in restitution to the victim’s mother and $10,000 to the state as a civil penalty.