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W-B Man Pleads Guilty To Selling Deadly Drug Dose

January 7, 2019 GMT

WILKES-BARRE — A city man accused of selling a deadly dose of heroin and fentanyl pleaded guilty Monday to felony charges.

Eric Scott Malia, 34, pleaded guilty to counts of drug delivery resulting in death and conspiring to traffic drugs in exchange for prosecutors dropping additional counts against him. Luzerne County Judge Joseph F. Sklarosky Jr. accepted the plea and set sentencing for March 4. 

Prosecutors alleged Malia and Joan Rosengrant, 47, also of Wilkes-Barre, sold two bags of drugs to Michael Gumaer, 38, of Plains Twp., who died on Jan. 15, 2017.

According to prosecutors, Gumaer contacted Rosengrant seeking drugs the day he died, and she agreed to get them. Rosengrant then contacted her dealer, Malia, who delivered two bags of heroin packaged in white baggies with no stamps or markings.

Gumaer paid Malia $30 for the packets and paid Rosengrant $10 for setting up the deal, according to prosecutors.

Gumaer, a correctional officer at a state prison, then went home and fatally overdosed, prosecutors said. An autopsy determined he died from the combined effects of fentanyl and heroin.  

Rosengrant was also charged with drug delivery resulting in death in the case, which made headlines because it was the first time Luzerne County prosecutors charged someone with that offense following a change in state law.

Rosengrant died while in custody at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility on July 7, 2017, with the coroner’s office ruling her death was an accidental and caused by the  combined effects of prescription drugs.

Malia had been set to stand trial starting Monday afternoon, but entered his plea prior to jury selection.

He has been held without bail at the county jail since his arrest on April 12, 2017.