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Man Charged With Homicide in Fatal Overdose of JC Resident

Posted: Updated:
JOHNSON CITY, N.Y. -

A visibly shaken Richard Gaworecki was led out of Johnson City Village Court in handcuffs Tuesday afternoon, charged with criminally negligent homicide in the death of Nicholas McKiernan.

McKiernan of Johnson City died of a heroin overdose sometime between July 21 and July 22.  Prosecutors say Gaworecki sold him the drugs on July 20 in the City of Binghamton. McKiernan was 26.

The arrest followed an investigation by the Johnson City Police Department and the Broome DA's office.

McKiernan's overdose marks the second case Broome County District Attorney Steve Cornwell is prosecuting as a homicide since taking office in 2016.

In April 2016, 65-year-old Raymond Ellis of Newark Valley was sentenced to three years in prison  for providing the drugs that killed Maryanne Whitman in December 2015. Whitman, 44, overdosed at the Vestal Motel.

Since January, 39 people have died of drug overdoses -- 82 percent of those deaths caused by heroin or opioids, according to the DA's office, which released second quarter numbers in July.

Cornwell, a big voice in Broome's opioid crisis, said his office's overdose death investigator is reviewing possible charges in other cases.

As for Gaworecki's case, police say it is not connected with July's four deadly overdoses in the Village of Johnson City.

Gaworecki was sent to Broome County Jail without bail.