Home   |   About Bucks   |   Site Map     Twitter Facebook

Government

Row Officers

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
Office of the Bucks County District Attorney

News Releases

Heroin Dealer Whose Customer Died Gets 6 to 20 Years

June 2, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Daniel B. Sweeney, 215.348.6328, dbsweeney@buckscounty.org

Jomar Rodriguez
    Jomar Rodriguez

A Philadelphia heroin dealer whose wares were found in the home of a Bensalem overdose victim was sentenced Thursday to serve six to 20 years in state prison.

After a non-jury trial, Bucks County Common Pleas Court Judge Wallace H. Bateman Jr. found the defendant, 22-year-old Jomar Rodriguez, guilty of multiple felony counts of delivering a controlled substance, unlawful use of a cell phone and dealing in proceeds of unlawful activity, as well as misdemeanor counts of possessing a controlled substance.

Bateman acquitted Rodriguez of directly causing the death of James Leupold, 35, on May 7, 2016. Leupold, who had struggled with heroin addiction for two decades, was found by his mother in the bathroom of their Bensalem home, dead of a heroin overdose.

A fellow addict testified that she had purchased heroin from Rodriguez at his Philadelphia home and brought it to Leupold several hours before he died.

Bateman, saying he had “agonized” over the verdict, said he could not conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that the heroin supplied by Rodriguez was the specific heroin that caused Leupold’s death.

Instead, he sentenced Rodriguez sternly on the other charges, telling the defendant, “You were not a casual dealer.”

After Leupold’s death, Bensalem police set up three controlled heroin purchases from Rodriguez on three dates over a two-week period. The transactions were audio- and video-recorded by police.

Deputy District Attorney Daniel B. Sweeney, who prosecuted the case, said a subsequent search warrant found 13 bundles of heroin, “an unbelievable amount” of drug-packaging materials, $907 cash, several cell phones and a gun inside Rodriguez’ home.

“It is clear that the defendant is a dealer, and had been a dealer from some time,” Sweeney argued in court. “If heroin indeed is a modern form of Russian roulette, one could say that the gun went off in this instance and someone died.”

Rodriguez apologized to Leupold’s parents, who attended the trial, for the loss of their son, saying he was “deeply sorry. I feel as though I learned my lesson and I’ll never (sell drugs) again.”

Defense attorney Todd Fiore asked Bateman to consider Rodriguez’ age and lack of an adult criminal record, and to sentence him to the year in prison that he already has served.

Bateman, noting evidence suggesting that Rodriguez sold roughly 15 heroin bundles each day, said such leniency would not be appropriate.

He ordered Rodriguez to serve two concurrent sentences of five to 15 years each for delivery off a controlled substance, and a consecutive one to five years for dealing in proceeds of unlawful activity.

“I dare say, had you not been arrested, you would still be doing this,” the judge told Rodriguez. “You may not have a drug problem … But you are selling it. So the impact it had on the community, quite frankly, is immeasurable.”

Approved for release by Gregg D. Shore, First Assistant 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

www.facebook.com/BucksCoDA
www.twitter.com/BucksDA