Trial continues on drug-related charges

PHOTO BY JILL GOSCHE Dr. Patrick Bruss of Emergency Physicians of Northwest Ohio testifies during Tyree Carpenter’s trial in Seneca County Common Pleas Court Judge Michael Kelbley’s courtroom Tuesday.

Witnesses testifying during a trial for a Fostoria man indicted on drug-related charges explained the effects of drug overdoses Tuesday.

Tyree L. Carpenter, 36, was indicted by a Seneca County grand jury on one count of involuntary manslaughter, a first-degree felony; three counts of corrupting another with drugs, all second-degree felonies; one count of trafficking in heroin, a third-degree felony; two counts of aggravated trafficking in drugs and one count of trafficking in cocaine, all fourth-degree felonies; and two counts of trafficking in heroin, two counts of possession of heroin, two counts of possessing criminal tools and one count each of trafficking in crack cocaine and possession of cocaine, all fifth-degree felonies.

The trial started in Seneca County Common Pleas Court Judge Michael Kelbley’s courtroom Monday morning.

Kelbley granted a motion by Stephanie Kiser, assistant Seneca County prosecutor, to dismiss one count of corrupting another with drugs, a second-degree felony, and one count of trafficking in heroin, a fifth-degree felony, Tuesday.

During her opening statement Monday, Kiser had said the case is about drug trafficking and drug possession involving numerous controlled substances. It was an extensive and lengthy investigation with numerous searches, drug sales and overdoses, with one being fatal, she said.

Carpenter is accused of causing the death of Steffen Yarris as a proximate result of committing or attempting to commit a charge of aggravated trafficking in drugs, according to his indictment.

Mary Jane Yarris of Findlay testified about her only child, Steffen Yarris, who was 31 when he died. He had gone to St. Wendelin Catholic School and was a social person with a lot of friends, she said.

“He was in a lot of sports, karate, judo, baseball, football,” she said. “Wrestling was his favorite.”

Officer Gabe Wedge of Fostoria Police Department testified about responding to an EMS call at Arby’s, 301 N. Countyline St., April 2, 2016. Officers were told someone had been in the bathroom for 45 minutes, he said.

“Family had been waiting,” he said.

Wedge said officers saw a person slumped over on the floor and pieces of drug paraphernalia and suspected drugs. Steffen Yarris later was pronounced dead at an emergency room.

Dr. Maneesha Pandey, deputy coroner and forensic pathologist at Lucas County Coroner’s Office, conducted an autopsy on Steffen Yarris’ body two days after his death. His cause of death was combined drug intoxication, she said.

Dr. Robert Forney, chief toxicologist at Lucas County Coroner’s Office, said fentanyl contributed to Steffen Yarris’ death.

Lt. Fred Reinhart, a firefighter-paramedic for Fostoria Fire Division, testified about responding to Arby’s. Jason Distel, a fellow firefighter-paramedic, testified about responding to 470 Linwood Ave. for a possible overdose by Meredith Breech Oct. 13, 2015.

Breech testified Tuesday and said she purchased drugs from Carpenter.

“I bought (the heroin) at the Fostoria Motel,” she said.

Breech said her overdose occurred in her bedroom at her parents’ house.

Her mother, Cindy Reinhard of Fostoria, said Beech was gray, barely breathing and unresponsive and had a slow pulse.

“I yelled for my husband to call 911,” she said.

Dr. Patrick Bruss of Emergency Physicians of Northwest Ohio — which staffs five hospitals, including ProMedica Fostoria Community Hospital — said he diagnosed Breech with a drug overdose.

Jurors also heard testimony from Jonathan Zickefoose of Fostoria, who identified himself as an addict whose drug of choice is crack cocaine. He said he bought crack from someone named TC on Main Street in Fostoria.

Forensic scientists representing Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation testified the substances they analyzed were found to contain heroin, cocaine, fentanyl and acetyl fentanyl.

Testimony is to resume in Kelbley’s courtroom at 9 a.m. today.