Partway through the first day of his trial on charges of selling heroin, 74-year-old Elwood C. Williard muttered, “Somebody tricked me.”
Williard is accused of conspiring with his codefendant, Kim Potts, to sell heroin from his South Middleton Township home. Authorities said they charged the two after investigating the death of 23-year-old Dan Jenks when Jenks’ girlfriend said she had gotten the heroin he overdosed on from Williard’s home on Nov. 14, 2008.
“She said, ‘I got it from this old man who lives in Mt. Holly Springs,’” prosecutor Derek Clepper, Cumberland County senior assistant district attorney, said in his opening statement before Judge Edward Guido.
Clepper described how Melissa Fourlas directed police to Williard’s house and noted that the same heroin packaging found in Jenks’ garage was found in Williard’s home. He also told the jury he would show them an admission in Williard’s own words that police obtained the night they served the search warrant.
State police have said it appears that Potts, who has entered a guilty plea and is serving a three to six-year state prison sentence, ran the operation and Williard helped her with it.
However, Williard’s attorney, Karl Rominger, said he merely made a “horrible mistake” when deciding to befriend Potts and welcome her into the home he shared with 80-year-old Carolyn Hocker.
Potts developed a heroin problem, Rominger said, and Williard tried to help her conquer it by keeping it and some of her money in his room so she couldn’t use it. The evidence will show that Williard himself was not dealing heroin, he said.
Occasionally sobbing, Fourlas testified that although her purchases at Williard’s home were conducted by an intermediary, she had seen him there. She bought a total of 10 packets of heroin that night, she said, and Jenks had four of them.
“I don’t do it anymore,” Fourlas said of heroin, She has not been charged in connection with the incident. Fourlas told the jury the deal was done on Williard’s porch that night, and when Rominger told her the initial statement she made to police indicated they had gone inside, she said she wasn’t sure what she told them that soon after of her boyfriend’s death.
Potts said she and a girlfriend who also lived at Williard’s house briefly in 2008 originally started doing and then selling heroin. Williard didn’t know Potts herself was dealing until she ended up in prison, she said, and he only started driving her to Trenton, where she picked up the drugs, after the girlfriend was imprisoned.
“I wrote down that Elwood death with the money and I dealt with the people,” Potts said of a statement she gave police. She said Elwood wanted her to “kick the habit” and would keep the heroin and money away from her to that end. She got to Trenton about once a week, picking up between five and 10 bricks of heroin containing 50 packets each on every trip, she said.
“Did he want you to stop using heroin or did he want you to stop selling heroin?” Clepper asked her.
“Probably both,” she said. When Clepper asked if Williard sold for her when she was away from the house, she said she wasn’t sure.
Testimony in the case was to resume today.