Ask/Answered is a weekly feature for reader-submitted questions. Follow the blog online at www.cumberlink.com:
How many people were criminally charged in 2017 with killing another person?
A total of 12 people were criminally charged for causing the death of another person in Cumberland County in 2017, according to court records.
This is a 50 percent increase from the year prior.
These cases accounted for roughly 0.04 percent of all new cases entering the system in 2017, court records show.
However, the increase comes entirely from drug overdose deaths being treated as homicides.
In Pennsylvania, someone can be charged with felony drug delivery resulting in death if they provide drugs to a person who overdoses and dies. The offense carries a statutory maximum sentence of 40 years and is quickly become a go-to charge for law enforcement as the number of people dying from drug overdoses continues to rise.
A total of seven people were charged with the offense in the county last year, compared to only three the year prior, according to court records.
Another three people were charged with either felony homicide by vehicle or felony homicide by vehicle while DUI, court records show.
This is the same number of people who were charged with those offenses in 2016 in the county.
Similarly, there was no change in the number of people charged with criminal homicide or murder in the county between 2016 and 2017, according to court records.
Two people were charged in both years, according to court records.
Mark Jante, 59, of Carlisle, became the first person charged with criminal homicide in the county in 2017 after police said he got drunk, and stabbed and killed his friend inside a home in Middlesex Township in March.
The county went without another criminal homicide case until November, when police said 35-year-old Rhyheim Hodge was shot and killed inside his home in Carlisle.
Christopher Jaquell Williams, 25, of Harrisburg, was arrested less than three days after the killing and charged with criminal homicide.
Both men are being held in county prisons with bail denied while awaiting trial, according to court records.
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