Indiana, PA - Indiana County

Hearing waived in woman's overdose death

by on July 17, 2014 11:00 AM

BLAIRSVILLE — Ryan Gould, the 25-year-old Shelocta man accused of delivering the heroin that caused the death of a young Lucernemines woman last fall, on Wednesday waived his preliminary hearing before Magisterial Court Judge Jennifer Rega in Blairsville.

The charges brought against Gould by the state police — drug delivery resulting in death, possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, recklessly endangering another person and giving false information to authorities — were waived on to court.

No date for the trial has been set.

Police accused Gould in the overdose death of Stephanie Elliott, who was 23 when she died Oct. 20, 2013, at UMPC Presbyterian Hospital, Pittsburgh. An autopsy determined her death was caused by aspiration pneumonia due to opiate intoxication.

According to a criminal complaint, Gould told a state police investigator he traveled from his workplace in West Virginia late on the evening of Oct. 18 to visit Elliott in her apartment along Route 286 in Blacklick Township, and found her unconscious on the floor when he arrived.

He told police her pulse was very weak and her lips were blue.

Gould told police he didn’t call 911 but opted instead to drive Elliott to Indiana Regional Medical Center in her car, according to the court document.

In Elliott’s apartment officers found opened stamp bags of heroin and syringes. And, according to the criminal complaint, a forensic examination of the calls made on Gould’s cell phone disputes his claim that he was in West Virginia as late on Oct. 18 as he told police he was.

A forensic review of text messages between Elliott and Gould on the night of Oct. 18 revealed Gould told Elliott he would arrive in Indiana by 9:45 p.m., and asked her, “you wanna get high and chill?”

Defense attorney David J. Shrager, of Pittsburgh, said Wednesday he and Gould discussed their case and decided to allow the charges to move forward to the Court of Common Pleas.

Shrager also said they felt it was “best not to put both families through the emotional turmoil of a hearing.”

When asked if there was a possibility of a plea bargain in the case, he said, “We’re hoping to work out something fair and just. … Sadly … no matter what happens, it’s a tragic event.”

Elliott was a 2008 graduate of Indiana Area High School and Indiana County Technology Center and was a member of the National Honor Society.

She had attended Penn Highlands Community College, Indiana University of Pennsylvania and Penn State Erie, The Behrend College, where she was studying mechanical engineering.

Gould was released earlier from the Indiana County Jail after posting the required 10 percent of a $75,000 bail.

Randy Wells has been a reporter and staff writer at The Indiana Gazette since 1988. His regular assignments include coverage of the Indiana County commissioners, Indiana Borough council and the Marion Center Area School District. His email address is
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