Jury finds man guilty of drug charges
55-year-old from Lewistown guilty of manufacturing methamphetamine in home
LEWISTOWN — Following a jury trial, a 55-year-old man was found guilty of charges related to manufacturing methamphetamine in his Oliver Township home.
Orthello L. Fultz, of Lewistown, stood trial at Mifflin County Courthouse, Monday, before Judge Aaron Gingrich.
After two hours of deliberation, the jury found Fultz guilty of manufacturing with intent to deliver methamphetamine, depositing, storing or disposing of chemical waste and possession of drug paraphernalia.
The jury found Fultz not guilty of operating a meth lab and risking catastrophe. Charges of possession of a controlled substance were withdrawn prior to the trial.
The jury heard testimony from police officials who responded to the incident, expert testimony from a forensic scientist, and Fultz’ 19-year-old girlfriend, who lives with him.
“Based on the verdict, the jurors thought long and hard about these charges and came back with what I think is a fair and just verdict,” said First District Attorney Mark Remy.
Tammy Dusharm, Fultz’ attorney, declined comment.
The charges stem from a Feb. 8 incident where State Police Troopers Dan Cherry and Steve Griffith arrived at Fultz’ residence to speak with his girlfriend, Bridget Bell, about her involvement in cooking and using meth.
Cherry testified that while at the residence, Bell gave him permission to search the home. Numerous items consistent to the manufacturing of meth were found in the garage, including cut lithium batteries, several cans of camping fuel and a makeshift exhaust hood and several bottles that appeared to be used to manufacture meth.
Trooper Shane Varner testified that when he arrived at the residence, Fultz told him he had marijuana, and showed him a safe with several bags and a grinder that was turned over to police.
Varner testified that he did not recall seeing any items consistent with the manufacturing of meth in the household.
Trooper Eric Guido, a member of the clandestine lab response team, testified that there was a large bag in the garage, with what was found to be remnants of four meth labs.
In March, Bell pleaded guilty to manufacturing with intent to deliver a controlled substance for the same incident and is currently on parole. She admitted to her involvement in the incident that occurred in February.
Bell testified that she would manufacture meth in the garage while Fultz was at work and said he was not aware of what she was doing.
Bell also testified that she had Fultz buy pseudoephedrine for her on two occasions due to illness that was caused by black mold in the house, but that she then used it to make meth.
Upon cross examination, Bell testified that she asked Fultz to make her a homemade ventilation system that would be used for their puppy, but said she actually used for making meth.
Remy argued Fultz’ guilt due to inconsistencies in Bell’s story.
A $50,000 bail for Fultz was posted in May. Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 12.