Man convicted in drug death of Callensburg woman
By Randy Bartley
It took a Venango County jury less than three hours Jan. 16 to convict an Emlenton man of drug delivery resulting in death and other charges related to the overdose death of a Callensburg woman in 2017.
The verdict came following two days of testimony and closing arguments earlier that day in the trial for Shaun Long, 51.
Testimony during the trial had indicated that Kayla Dunlap, 28, of Callensburg, died in September 2017 after taking drugs at Long's home in Scrubgrass Township.
Long was convicted of furnishing Acetylfentanyl (an extremely potent opioid analgesic) to Dunlap, causing her to overdose and die. He was also found guilty of disposing of Dunlap's body near the Butler Reservoir.
Grace O'Day, 25, who helped Long dump the body and was at Long's home when Dunlap overdosed, testified Jan. 14 about the series of events before and after Dunlap's death.
Jurors at one point during deliberations asked to view photos presented by the prosecution and to have sections of the law pertaining to manslaughter and drug delivery resulting in death charges read to them again.
The panel, made up of eight men and four women, returned shortly after reviewing the photos with its verdict.
"I am very happy with the jury's work on this case," Venango County District Attorney Shawn White said. "I am also very happy with the investigators who worked this case. Not many people work as hard as these two state troopers did to make sure that what actually happened to Kayla was brought to the surface."
White added, "I believe the jury gave the right verdict so that the person responsible was held responsible."
Long was remanded to the Venango County jail, and Judge Robert Boyer ordered a pre-sentence investigation and set sentencing for March 31.
White said the conviction carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
Defense attorney Joe Ryan said he would wait until after the sentencing to determine if he would file an appeal.
Long was found guilty of drug delivery resulting in death, hindering apprehension or prosecution-concealing or destroying evidence, hindering apprehension or prosecution by providing false information to law enforcement officials, two counts of manufacture, delivery or possession with the intent to manufacture or deliver, and single counts of involuntary manslaughter-abuse of a corpse, false reports-reported offense did not occur, tampering with or fabricating physical evidence, obstruction of the administration of law and other government function, possession of a controlled substance and use-possession of drug paraphernalia.
He was found not guilty of manufacturing a controlled substance (methamphetamine).
O'Day was also charged in the case and eventually pleaded guilty to a charge of furnishing authorities with information without knowledge.
During the two days of testimony, prosecutors produced cell phone records, DNA and an eyewitness.
White called O'Day to the stand Jan. 14. She was at Long's trailer home when Dunlap died.
O'Day testified she had known Long for about five years and had been living with him since 2016. She said she stayed with Long because she had "nowhere else to go."
O'Day said she didn't work and Long furnished her with drugs. She said the drugs Long obtained in Pittsburgh were mostly fentanyl and methamphetamine.
She testified Dunlap arrived at Long's house Sept. 15, 2017, and that Dunlap used drugs shortly after arriving. O'Day said she prepared the drug and injected it into Dunlap's ankle.
O'Day said Dunlap "went out," and O'Day had to help her to her feet and keep her conscious.
O'Day said that when they awoke the next morning both she and Dunlap were "drug sick" and were shivering and sweating. O'Day said she saw Dunlap preparing her next drug shot, and O'Day said Dunlap went out again. She said Dunlap "fell like a tree."
O'Day said she went to a small safe in Long's bedroom where he kept the Narcan anti-overdose medication. She said she injected Dunlap with the Narcan, but to no effect.
"She was not breathing," O'Day said.
O'Day said she started to call 9-1-1, but Long took her cell phone from her and prevented her from making the call. Long told her he would "go to jail," she said.
She testified Long left the trailer and padlocked her inside the trailer with Dunlap's body. O'Day said she got high and tried to forget what had happened.
Under cross-examination of O'Day, Ryan produced photos of Long's trailer that didn't show any padlocks on the door.
O'Day said when Long returned to the trailer he wanted her to help him move Dunlap's body into his Chevrolet Equinox. O'Day said Long dragged Dunlap's sheet-wrapped body and purse to the vehicle.
O'Day said she and Long drove to the Butler Reservoir where they dumped the body. O'Day said Long burned the sheets the body had been wrapped in.
The next morning Long also burned Dunlap's black flip-flop that had been found in the driveway, O'Day said
O'Day said she packed her belongings and went to her mother's home. She said she was "shocked and scared" and "wanted to be with her mother."
Under cross-examination, O'Day said she only stayed with her mother for a day before returning to Long's trailer for more drugs.
O'Day testified Long had told her to tell police that Dunlap had "walked away" from Long's trailer. She admitted lying to police during two interviews but finally told police the truth in a third interview.
O'Day said she finally told the truth because "I wanted to help Kayla. I loved her more than anything else. I wanted to see justice done."
O'Day broke down and wept when a photo of Dunlap was displayed on the large screen in the courtroom.
O'Day also admitted "cooking meth" at her mother's home where Dunlap previously had overdosed. O'Day said that rather than calling 9-1-1 she called Long who brought a Narcan shot and revived Dunlap.
Earlier in the day, Pennsylvania State Police Cpl. Christopher Balcik, presented evidence based on cell phone information that indicated Long's cell phone was near where Dunlap's body was found.
Balcik said the evidence contradicted Long's earlier statement that he was not in that area.
"We knew Long did not tell the truth," Balcik said.
Police executed a search warrant to obtain Long's cell phone from his home, and a text dump revealed numerous conversations with several people regarding drug transactions, Balcik said.
In one message, Long advised his business partner to take a curve real fast and do a "Kayla," Balcik said. The trooper said that action would cause someone to fly out of the vehicle.
In a final message presented into evidence, Balcik said the message received by Long said "Grace knows too much and is a liability now."
Balcik also produced a state police report on blood samples and DNA. Although blood samples taken from the rear of Long's car proved inconclusive, the DNA found on a Narcan applicator stated Dunlap and Long couldn't be excluded but that O'Day could be excluded, Balcik said.
The report concluded that the possibility of someone other than Dunlap and Long to be included was one in an octillion, Balcik said.
Butler County pathologist Dr. Leon Rozen testified Dunlap died from a drug overdose.