By JIM MEYER
An Emlenton man charged in connection with the overdose death of a 28-year-old Callensburg woman last September was held for trial April 25 after a preliminary hearing in Venango County Central Court in Franklin.
Shaun Long, 49, will now face more court action on all the charges against him for his alleged involvement in the death of Kayla Dunlap and the disposal of her body along Lake Road in Oakland Township, Butler County.
Grace O’Day, 23, of Kennerdell, who testified at Long’s hearing, is facing misdemeanor charges for her alleged involvement in the disposal of Dunlap’s body. She waived her preliminary hearing.
O’Day testified at Long’s hearing that she, Dunlap and Long had been injecting fentanyl Sept. 16 at Long’s residence on Eakin Road in Scrubgrass Township.
After getting high twice and passing out both times, O’Day said she woke up to find Dunlap unresponsive.
“We gave her Narcan and felt her pulse,” O’Day said. “We couldn’t feel a pulse and there was blood in her mouth.”
O’Day said that she wanted to call 9-1-1 but Long told her not to. When District Attorney Shawn White asked her why she didn’t use her cellphone, she said Long took it from her to prevent her from calling 9-1-1.
At that point, O’Day got high again and passed out, she testified. When she woke up several hours later, she and Long wrapped Dunlap in a sheet and moved her body to a car, she said.
Dunlap’s body was found the morning of Sept. 17 along with her purse and some personal belongings. A criminal complaint filed through district judge Patrick Lowrey’s office said an autopsy determined Dunlap’s cause of death to be combined fentanyl and amphetamine intoxication.
Butler state police trooper Christopher Balcik, the lead investigator into Dunlap’s disappearance, testified Wednesday that looking through the contents of Dunlap’s purse and subsequent interviews led him to question Long.
Long was interviewed Sept. 18, and he said he last saw Dunlap leaving his residence on foot a day or two earlier, Balcik said.
Through a search warrant, police received cellphone data belonging to Long that indicated he had been near the location where Dunlap’s body was found on or about the time and date her body had been dumped on Lake Road, Balcik said.
Balcik said a search warrant was executed on Long’s residence Oct. 3, 2017, and police found a used nasal Narcan injector as well as a written ledger of drug sales. The search also returned methamphetamine and methadone, several hundred empty stamp bags, rubber bands and other products used for creating and storing methamphetamine, Balcik said.
Long’s attorney, Joseph Ryan, argued for dismissal of charges of drug delivery resulting in death and involuntary manslaughter on grounds that the only evidence was the testimony of O’Day, who didn’t physically see drugs changing hands.
“There’s no need to remove a body if you didn’t provide the drugs and had nothing to do with it,” White said. “You administer Narcan and call 9-1-1 because you’re innocent.”
Ryan also argued for the dismissal of a charge of hindering apprehension. While he acknowledged that Long lied to police about the whereabouts of Dunlap, he said there was no indication he did so to protect O’Day.
White argued that misleading police protected both Long and O’Day.
“Miss O’Day had been living there with him for six months, so he was protecting both himself and Miss O’Day,” White said.
District Judge Matthew Kirtland ruled that all charges be bound over to the Court of Common Pleas.
Long is facing felony counts of drug delivery resulting in death and two counts of hindering prosecution, in addition to misdemeanor counts of involuntary manslaughter, abuse of a corpse, false reports, tampering with evidence and obstructing the administration of law.
O’Day waived her hearing on misdemeanor counts of conspiracy-abuse of a corpse, conspiracy-tampering with or fabricating physical evidence and making false reports to law enforcement. She also waived a second hearing last week on charges of use-possession of drug paraphernalia and disorderly conduct.
Both Long and O’Day remain lodged in the Venango County jail.