Franklin County marks first conviction for overdose death
Shannon Watts. (Photo provided by Franklin County District Attorney’s Office)
(Harrisbirg) — For the first time in one midstate county, a man has been convicted of drug delivery resulting in death.
A Franklin County jury found Shannon Watts guilty of providing opioid pills that caused Allen Chapman’s 2016 overdose death.
According to evidence presented at trial, Watts sold four opioid pills to Chapman on October 24, 2016. After snorting the pills, Mr. Chapman went home and died the following morning. Pennsylvania State Police were able to make controlled buys of additional pills from Watts.
Watts is now awaiting sentencing.
District Attorney Matthew Fogal called the conviction “a landmark day in Franklin County’s struggle with the opioid crisis.”
“Allen Chapman had a disease, and Shannon Watts preyed upon and profited from that sickness,” Fogal said. “Justice has been rendered for Allen Chapman and to Shannon Watts.”
The midstate is something of a hot spot for the felony charge.
A nationwide, county-by-county analysis found that, last year, Lancaster and York counties ranked in the top five in charging dealers with drug delivery resulting in death.
The move is controversial.
Some groups, such as Drug Policy Alliance, say locking up drug dealers is costly and ineffective at reducing opioid addiction.