Harrisburg man charged in woman’s heroin death

A Harrisburg man has been charged in the heroin overdose death of a Hummelstown woman.

Tony H. James Jr., 36, is accused of delivering heroin to 31-year-old Kelly A. Sherrick, according to Swatara Township police.

Sherrick was found dead Dec. 31 in a public restroom at the Weis Market at 6301 Grayson Road. Police said evidence found at the scene and an investigation by the Dauphin County Coroner’s Office confirmed she died of a heroin overdose.

Police said James, who is also known as Michael Daniels and the street name “T,” was identified as a suspect after a five-month investigation.

James was charged with murder by delivery of drugs and unlawful delivery of a controlled substance. He surrendered to police Tuesday and was committed to Dauphin County Prison on $500,000 bail.

Investigators said overdoses often happen in public places because heroin is extremely addictive.

“They don’t wait until they get back to their home or apartment or hotel room,” Swatara Township Police Chief Jason Umberger said. “They can’t wait because they’re what we call heroin sick.”

Sherrick’s parents said her doctors prescribed her pain killers after she injured her back at work. She became addicted, and when her doctor stopped prescribing the drugs, Sherrick started using heroin.

Her parents said Sherrick quickly became an addict. She went to rehab, but checked out just two days before she died.

Her father believes doctors were too quick to prescribe prescription pain killers. He is also glad that her alleged dealer is off the streets.

“It’s not gonna bring our daughter back,” Jeff Sherrick said. “The best thing we can do is pray for him and that’ll release us. Being spiteful or revengeful for it isn’t going to help us.”

Police said most heroin addicts start as prescription drug addicts. Lawmakers and law enforcement believe that is where the fight begins. There is legislation in the works to crack down on prescription drug abuse.

Dauphin County District Attorney Ed Marsico called heroin use an “epidemic.” He said heroin users “peddle death.”

Marsico said that is why Dauphin County law enforcement will crack down even harder.

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