Abing­ton man dies in cus­tody await­ing trial on charge stem­ming from drug over­dose death.

Times Chronicle & Public Spirit - - FRONT PAGE - By Carl Hessler Jr. chessler@21st-cen­tu­ry­media. com @mont­co­court­news on Twit­ter

NORRISTOWN >> An Abing­ton man await­ing trial on a homi­cide-re­lated charge in con­nec­tion with the drug over­dose death of a Hat­field man last sum­mer has died while in cus­tody and his death is now un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Ron­ald M. Braun­ing Jr., 41, of the 1300 block of Bir­ch­wood Av­enue, was found un­re­spon­sive at the Mont­gomery County Cor­rec­tional Fa­cil­ity in Lower Prov­i­dence on Oct. 9 and was later pro­nounced dead at Ein­stein Med­i­cal Cen­ter in East Nor­ri­ton, county of­fi­cials con­firmed on Oct. 16.

John Cor­co­ran, county di­rec­tor of com­mu­ni­ca­tions, speak­ing on be­half of county jail of­fi­cials, said Braun­ing’s death is un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion by county au­thor­i­ties.

Kate De­lano, di­rec­tor of com­mu­ni­ca­tions for the dis­trict at­tor­ney’s of­fice, con­firmed that county de­tec­tives are in­ves­ti­gat­ing the na­ture of Braun­ing’s death.

County First Deputy Coro­ner Alexan­der Balacki said an au­topsy was con­ducted dur­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tion of Braun­ing’s death and that of­fi­cials are await­ing the re­sults of tox­i­col­ogy tests, which can take sev­eral weeks.

“The cause and man­ner of death are pend­ing,” Balacki ex­plained Oct. 16.

Braun­ing was ar­rested in March and was await­ing trial on charges of drug de­liv­ery re­sult­ing in death, in­vol­un­tary man­slaugh­ter, pos­ses­sion of and pos­ses­sion with in­tent to de­liver con­trolled sub­stances and pos­ses­sion of drug paraphernalia in con­nec­tion with the Aug. 14, 2017, over­dose death of 36-year-old Ron­ald Solomon of Hat­field.

Braun­ing was be­ing held at the county jail in lieu of $750,000 bail at the time of his death.

Last month, Braun­ing waived his ar­raign­ment in county court and pleaded not guilty to the charges. Braun­ing, who was rep­re­sented by de­fense lawyer Car­rie L. All­man, was sched­uled for trial on Feb. 19, 2019, be­fore Judge Thomas C. Branca. As­sis­tant Dis­trict At­tor­ney James Price was han­dling the prose­cu­tion.

Court doc­u­ments in­di­cate that just a week be­fore he al­legedly sold metham­phetamine to Solomon, Braun­ing nearly died from in­gest­ing the same drug.

On Aug. 6, 2017, Up­per Dublin po­lice re­sponded to a lo­cal ho­tel at 2:17 a.m. for a med­i­cal emer­gency and found Braun­ing un­con­scious on the bath­room floor of a ho­tel room. Of­fi­cers ad­min­is­tered two doses of nalox­one and were able to re­vive Braun­ing. Ac­cord­ing to court pa­pers, po­lice seized sus­pected metham­phetamine, heroin, co­caine and mar­i­juana and drug paraphernalia from the room.

An in­ves­ti­ga­tion of Solomon’s death be­gan about 2:25 a.m. Aug. 14 when Hat­field po­lice re­sponded to Solomon’s home in the 1700 block of Kof­fel Road in Hat­field for a med­i­cal emer­gency in­volv­ing an un­re­spon­sive per­son. Upon ar­rival po­lice found Solomon’s girl­friend per­form­ing back com­pres­sions on Solomon, who was ly­ing on a garage floor, ac­cord­ing to the crim­i­nal com­plaint filed by Hat­field De­tec­tive Richard Hoffner and Special County De­tec­tive Gregory Pitch­ford.

Solomon’s girl­friend told de­tec­tives she awoke to find Solomon un­re­spon­sive on the floor and called 911, ac­cord­ing to court pa­pers.

Po­lice be­gan per­form­ing CPR and two doses of Nalox­one were ad­min­is­tered to Solomon but he re­mained un­re­spon­sive.

“Po­lice and emer­gency med­i­cal ser­vices personnel per­formed life­sav­ing mea­sures with no avail,” al­leged Hoffner and Pitch­ford, adding Solomon was pro­nounced dead at a lo­cal hos­pi­tal at 3:03 a.m.

An au­topsy de­ter­mined Solomon died as a re­sult of the com­bined drug in­tox­i­ca­tion of heroin, fen­tanyl and metham­phetamine and the man­ner of death was ruled ac­ci­dent, ac­cord­ing to court pa­pers. Of­fi­cials al­leged the amount of fen­tanyl in the vic­tim’s blood alone would have killed him, even in the ab­sence of any of the other sub­stances in his sys­tem.

Au­thor­i­ties al­leged a bag of drugs was found hid­den be­tween Solomon’s cell­phone and its rear case. Prose­cu­tors al­leged tests de­ter­mined the bag con­tained metham­phetamine.

Dur­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, de­tec­tives un­cov­ered cell­phone calls and text mes­sages be­tween Solomon and Braun­ing that oc­curred dur­ing the evening hours of Aug. 13. In­ves­ti­ga­tors used cell­phone anal­y­sis and mapping as well as video sur­veil­lance footage to de­ter­mine that Solomon met Braun­ing some­time af­ter 9:18 p.m. Aug, 13 at a res­i­dence on Penn Street in Lans­dale and Braun­ing sold fen­tanyl and metham­phetamine to Solomon, ac­cord­ing to the crim­i­nal com­plaint.

De­tec­tives also learned that Braun­ing was ar­rested at 3:10 a.m. Aug. 14, about 45 min­utes af­ter Solomon’s over­dose death, by Mont­gomery Town­ship po­lice when he was found asleep in his ve­hi­cle on the park­ing lot of a ho­tel on Beth­le­hem Pike. De­tec­tives al­leged they found metham­phetamine, a dig­i­tal scale and heroin in a black pouch in Braun­ing’s pos­ses­sion.

“The five smaller bags of sus­pected crys­tal metham­phetamine found in Ron­ald Braun­ing’s pos­ses­sion were found to be the same size, style, and type as the sin­gle bag of sus­pected crys­tal metham­phetamine found in­side Ron­ald Solomon’s cel­lu­lar tele­phone’s pro­tec­tive phone case,” de­tec­tives al­leged.

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