Plea expected in drug death

EUGENE PARRISH

BY STACI WILSON

A felony charge was dropped Monday against a man accused of injecting his girlfriend with a lethal drug cocktail of cocaine and morphine in June 2011.

Eugene Parrish, 34, Montrose, still faces one count of involuntary manslaughter, a first degree misdemeanor.

He waived his Monday preliminary hearing before Magisterial District Judge Jodi Cordner.

According to District Attorney Jason Legg, an agreement has been reached where Parrish will plead guilty to the count of involuntary manslaughter.

A date for the plea hearing in Susquehanna County Court has not yet been set.

The district attorney agreed to drop the felony count as part of the plea agreement with Public Defender Linda LaBarbera.

Legg said, “We determined that the appropriate resolution was a guilty plea to involuntary manslaughter. Plainly, the decision to inject heroin into another person, even with her consent, is a grossly negligent act with the foreseeable result being a drug overdose.”

The charge stems from the June 20 death of Kathryn Pelka, 31, Tunkhannock.

According to police, Parrish admitted he injected Pelka twice with what he believed was heroin in a motel room at the Endless Mountains Lodge, Rt. 11, New Milford, immediately prior to her death.

Autopsy results indicated the woman died as a result of the “combined pharmacologic effects of cocaine and morphine.”

Parrish also told police thought Pelka could have been dead for two hours before he called 911. He also agreed with police that if he had called 911 when she became unconscious, she may still be alive.

In a police interview, Parrish said he called his cousin for help because he knew Pelka was in trouble and he was afraid he was going to get in trouble because he was shooting heroin while on supervision with the county probation department.

Parrish told police his cousin left before Pelka stopped breathing.

At the time of Pelka’s death, Parrish was awaiting sentencing in Susquehanna County Court on an unrelated case.

On May 4, 2011, Parrish pleaded no contest to a charged of indecent assault of a person less than 13 years of age stemming from an April 11, 2010 incident in Dimock Twp.

He was sentenced in that case on August 18, 2011 to serve nine to 23 months and 16 days in the Susquehanna County Correctional Facility.