Two Somerset County men go to prison for drug delivery in separate cases

February 12, 2019

Two Somerset County men were sentenced Monday to one to three years in state prison followed by two years of supervised probation in separate cases in which they were originally charged with drug delivery resulting in death.

Both men pleaded guilty to a lesser offense of possession with intent to deliver.

Somerset defense attorney David Leake represented both Mark Lynn Boden Jr., 24, Central City, and Wayne Merrill Sherlock II, 23, Somerset.

President Judge D. Gregory Geary said the main reason for the sentences was each defendant’s “involvement in a chain of distribution of illegal drugs that ultimately caused the death of another person.”

Boden was charged with providing the heroin that killed an Elk Lick Township man on April 8.

He was accused of selling the drug to 31-year-old Brian Lee Winebrenner, of Springs, who died from a drug overdose at his residence, according to court documents.

Nine stamp bags of suspected heroin were found in Winebrenner’s pocket along with two syringes. A police investigation led to Boden, who, at a traffic stop five days prior to Winebrenner’s death, had three of the same stamp bags of suspected heroin on him, according to court documents.

Boden later told police that he only knew of Winebrenner and had no contact with him on the day of his death. Police searched Boden’s cellphone and found three calls between Boden and Winebrenner on the evening of April 7.

Geary asked him at his sentencing if he had anything he wanted to say. Initially, Boden said no, but when the judge asked him the question again, he said, “I’m trying to do the right thing now.”

He was credited with 236 days of time served. Geary noted that Boden was eligible for the prison system’s Recidivism Risk Reduction Incentive program and was given an alternate minimum sentence of nine months if he successfully completes the program.

Sherlock was charged with contributing to the overdose death of 52-year-old Roxanne Keller, of Somerset, who died in November 2017.

Sherlock, along with co-defendants Mark Lewis and David Michael Oakes, was charged with contributing to Keller’s death.

According to court documents, on the day of Keller’s death, Oakes told police that he and Keller had purchased heroin from Sherlock at Village Way in Somerset Borough. Once they returned to the Somerset Township residence, Oakes fell asleep on the couch and Keller went upstairs, police said.

Oakes later woke and found Keller unresponsive at the foot of a staircase. He called 911.

Sherlock told police he was contacted by Oakes via text message to obtain the drugs. Sherlock then contacted Oakes and said he was able to locate “bags” of heroin. He said Lewis supplied the drugs.

At his sentencing, Sherlock said he was “sorry” and apologized, throwing in “and the victims certainly” at the end.

Sherlock was credited with 231 days of time served.

Geary noted that Sherlock was eligible for the Recidivism Risk Reduction Incentive program and gave him an alternate minimum sentence of nine months.

No one spoke during the hearings Monday about the impact of the loss of Winebrenner or Keller, however, numerous letters were written to Judge Geary and to District Attorney Lisa Lazzari-Strasiser that were included in the presentence report.

Boden and Sherlock must pay the costs of prosecution and supervision, a $500 fine and submit to DNA testing, were ordered by the judge.

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