MERCER – The trial for a Lawrence County man accused of selling a fatal dose of fentanyl to a Grove City man in 2019 is set to start on Monday.
Brandon O’Brien Bowers, 34, of 1800 Brent Road, Plain Grove Township, allegedly sold the drugs to Michael Robert Herndon, 33, who later overdosed at home.
Proceedings are scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. Nov. 15 at the Mercer County Courthouse in Courtroom 4 with President Judge Robert G. Yeatts.
Bowers, who remains in Mercer County Jail on $250,000 bond, was charged July 15, 2020, by Grove City police with third-degree murder; drug delivery resulting in death; manufacture, delivery and possession with intent to manufacture or deliver; involuntary manslaughter; recklessly endangering another person; possession of a controlled substance; and criminal use of a communication facility.
He is represented by Stanley Tyrone Booker, a New Castle attorney.
Mercer County District Attorney Peter C. Acker confirmed on Saturday that the trial is moving forward, but he could not comment on the case itself at this time.
During a July 29, 2020, preliminary hearing with District Judge D. Neil McEwen, Pine Township, all charged were held to Common Pleas Court because of overwhelming evidence that Bowers provided the drugs that caused Herndon’s overdose, McEwen said.
Testimony at that hearing revealed that Patrolman Robert Steese was called to Herndon’s Stewart Avenue home just after midnight on July 13, 2019, for a potential overdose.
Herndon’s cause of death was “fentanyl overdose,” according to Mercer County Deputy Coroner Dr. David Hoyt.
After searching Herndon’s bedroom, Patrolman Jesse DePietro found paper that later tested positive for fentanyl, plus a handwritten list of names and phone numbers, including one later determined to be Bowers’ cell phone number.
DePietro met with Bowers on July 15, 2019, along with Michelle Jordan, an acquaintance of Bowers, who was asked to come alone.
Bowers told police that he brought Jordan so they could “kill two birds with one stone,” DePietro said, adding that Bowers contradicted himself multiple times.
Bowers reportedly last saw Herndon on July 12 at Herndon’s home, where he was dropping off headphones with Jordan. Also, Herndon allowed Bowers to use his debit card to settle a debt, DePietro said.
Herndon was “acting weird,” like he was high, Bowers said.
Police arrested Bowers after a traffic stop on July 15, when Bowers said “he didn’t make him,” meaning he didn’t make Herndon shoot the drugs, DePietro said.
“How are you charging me with murder? I didn’t hold a gun to his head,” Bowers asked, DePietro testified.
Bowers made those statements before police questioned him, DePietro said.
Jordan testified that she and Bowers were friends as teens and reconnected romantically in June 2019. He asked her to tell police that they had been together on July 12 and to report that Herndon was under the influence.