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Woman Who Sold Deadly Drugs Sentenced to 9 to 18 Years

July 26, 2017

Contact: Christopher W. Rees, 215.348.6341, cwrees@buckscounty.org

Brianna Burns 
        Brianna Burns

A Souderton woman who continued selling drugs even after two customers died of overdoses was sentenced Tuesday to serve nine to 18 years in state prison.

Brianna Burns, 24, told the families of Justin Eschenburg and William Grzyminski that she didn’t know how to apologize, “knowing I can’t trade my life to bring them back.”

Eschenburg, 30, of Trumbauersville, and Grzyminski, 26, of East Greenville, Montgomery County, were found dead in their homes in early November 2015. Both had taken pills containing fentanyl that Burns had sold.

Burns pleaded guilty May 8 in Bucks County Common Pleas Court to charges including drug delivery resulting in death, involuntary manslaughter, recklessly endangering another person and delivery of a controlled substance.

Judge Raymond F. McHugh, saying the defendant’s conduct “defies human experience,” sentenced Burns to consecutive prison terms of six to 12 years for causing Eschenburg’s death, one to two years for recklessly endangering Gryzminski, and two to four years for selling marijuana and oxycodone to an undercover state trooper little more than two weeks after the two men died.

To continue selling drugs “after you know that people have died because of your conduct is difficult to fathom,” McHugh told her.

On Nov. 3, 2015, Eschenburg’s father found him dead of an overdose in the son’s Trumbauersville home. The night before, Eschenburg had crushed and snorted a blue pill that a longtime friend, Kyle Wireman, had given him – a pill that both men believed was Percocet, a painkiller.

Instead, the pill turned out to be a combination of fentanyl and acetyl fentanyl, synthetic opioids that are many times more potent than morphine or heroin. It was part of a deadly batch of 30 pills that Burns had bought in Camden, N.J., a few days earlier.

Wireman, 29, had bought three of the pills from Burns in Sellersville on Nov. 2, and took them later that day to the home of Eschenburg, whom he had known since they were teenagers.

Wireman gave two of the pills to Eschenburg, who was suffering from back pain, as partial payment for a debt he owed. Eschenburg used one and set the other pill aside for later.

Wireman swallowed the third pill himself before leaving his friend’s home.  He became sick within hours from the drug, but survived.

Distraught upon learning of Eschenburg’s death, Wireman went to state police immediately and confessed to his role. At an emotional hearing on May 8, McHugh sentenced him to serve five to 15 years in state prison.

The same day that Wireman purchased drugs from Burns, she sold the same variety of pills to William Grzyminski, who also was found dead on Nov. 3.

Burns pleaded guilty to endangering Grzyminski, but was not charged with his death because an autopsy could not exclude another drug found in his system as a factor in his passing.

Burns was arrested after selling a quarter-ounce of marijuana and two oxycodone pills to an undercover state trooper in Hilltown Township on Nov. 19, 2015.

According to court records, Burns told police after her arrest that she knew Grzyminski and a friend of Wireman’s had died from “bad pills” they had taken.

She admitted having bought 30 blue pills in Camden shortly before the deaths and said she had almost died after taking three of them. She told police that, when selling some of the pills to Wireman and Grzyminski, she warned both men “to be careful because she had not felt right after taking (the) pills the night before.”

Burns told police that she sold drugs because she was an addict and had no job to support her habit. After learning of the two deaths, she said in court, she “barricaded myself for a week” in an effort to stop using and dealing drugs, but resumed anyway.

“She was simply willing to deal death for $30 per pill,” Deputy District Attorney Christopher W. Rees told McHugh. “She was aware of the potential side effects … but she didn’t care.

“She did it because she wanted drugs. She did it out of greed. She did it because her addiction was more important to her than the lives of two people,” Rees said.

His words were echoed by Grzyminski’s paternal grandmother, Catherine Wilson, who submitted a letter that was read in court before McHugh imposed the sentence.

“Will was cheated out of 2/3 of his life by a person who deceived him. The defendant will wake up each day with the ability to make choices. Her family can visit with her while she is incarcerated. We have no such comfort. We have only memories and ashes,” Wilson’s letter said.

“I cannot comprehend how the defendant, upon learning of the deaths of 2 young men on November 3rd, could go out and do business as usual,” the letter continued. “This was heartless and inhumane. If the defendant had not encountered the undercover officers, I wonder how many other young people might have lost their lives.”

The case was investigated by the Pennsylvania State Police, and prosecuted by Deputy District Attorneys Thomas C. Gannon and Christopher W. Rees.

Approved for release by Jennifer M. Schorn, Deputy District Attorney.

Office of the District Attorney
Bucks County Justice Center
100 N. Main Street
Doylestown, PA 18901 
Phone: 215-348-6344 
Fax: 215-348-6299

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