The Pennsylvania Superior Court said there is sufficient evidence to support the conviction of a man accused of selling a fatal dose of butyryl fentanyl/heroin to a Bradford man.
On Halloween 2019, a McKean County jury found Larry W. Shroyer, 49, of Derrick City, guilty of the following charges: delivery of heroin, conspiracy to deliver a designer drug, conspiracy to deliver heroin, distributing a designer drug, possession of heroin, recklessly endangering another person and flight to avoid apprehension.
Shroyer is currently serving a state prison sentence of 53 to 106 months for selling a butyryl fentanyl/heroin mix to 25-year-old George Duke Jr. Duke was found dead in his bedroom on Nov. 13, 2015, having died of an overdose. When Shroyer learned in November 2017 that he was being charged in Duke’s death, he hid from police.
District Attorney Stephanie Vettenburg-Shaffer prosecuted the case, and the trial was heard before President Judge John Pavlock.
Shroyer, through Ridgway attorney John Thomas, filed an appeal arguing there was insufficient evidence for charges of flight to avoid apprehension and reckless endangerment.
Regarding the flight to avoid apprehension charge, “Shroyer argues that the evidence was lacking because nothing in the record shows that he attempted to conceal himself or avoid detection after police informed him of new criminal charges,” Superior Court judges explained in an order outlining their decision.
“However, based on our review of the record, the Commonwealth produced sufficient evidence to sustain Shroyer’s conviction as to each element of this offense, including the intent to elude,” the order stated.
The judges referred to testimony from then-Police Chief Chris Lucco. Lucco had contacted Shroyer on Nov. 16, 2017, to inform him that there was a warrant out for his arrest on the charges.
“Shroyer was asked to turn himself in and he indicated that he would do so,” the order stated. “When Shroyer did not appear, Officer Lucco tried to contact Shroyer at his residence in Foster Township but did not find him there; nor could Shroyer be reached by phone or through local family members.”
Shroyer was found Nov. 21, 2017, at a friend’s home and did not cooperate with police until police had surrounded the home.
Regarding the reckless endangerment charge, the judges talked about the evidence that showed that Shroyer realized “the narcotics he was selling were of a very high potency.” He even “bragged” to a former cellmate “about selling the ‘good stuff’ to Duke.”
The order further notes that Shroyer knew Duke suffered from addiction and had spent time in multiple rehabilitation facilities.
“As we find that the evidence was legally sufficient, the judgments of sentence are affirmed,” the Superior Court judges stated in the order.
The Appellate Court case docket indicates the Superior Court affirmed the conviction on Aug. 19, and the case was remitted to the lower court on Sept. 29.
Shroyer is currently incarcerated in State Correctional Institution Fayette.