Former student ordered to stand trial in drug case

Following a preliminary hearing March 22, a 20-year-old Scottdale woman charged with two counts of child endangerment, one count of controlled substance, and a count of possession of drug paraphernalia was ordered to stand trial on drug and child endangerment charges.

Following the hearing, Emily E. Garsteck of 3rd Avenue, was ordered by District Judge Chuck Moore to stand trial in Westmoreland County Court of Common Pleas.

Garsteck, a former Southmoreland student, remains free on bond. Her case made news when it was covered by Pittsburgh area television news stations when police reported she was unconscious while her children were at home and near drugs which were scattered on the floor of the home.

During the hearing, the defendant’s father, Mr. Scott Garsteck, and her uncle, Mr. Brooke Garsteck, offered testimony.

Judge Moore began the hearing by reading the criminal complaint for Ms. Garsteck, which includes nine charges, and that how two weeks prior to an alleged overdose, she had agreed to immediately halt all forms of unlawful conduct.

Judge Moore questioned whether Garsteck can be trusted to avoid drugs.

“Emily demonstrated remorse in jail, she had an evident suboxone addiction. With that being said, keeping her will not help her or her family,” defense attorney Francis Murrman of Greensburg said. “If it weren’t for the fact her children are protected, we wouldn’t believe she should be released, but with family supervision; it is plausible.”

Assistant District Attorney Allen  Powanda said the Commonwealth considers Ms. Garsteck “a danger.” He said Garsteck  “put her (two) children in danger” by using drugs while being responsible for their well being. “She’s been a part of both inpatient and outpatient treatment,” so she should remain in jail pending bond.

Defense attorney Fran Murrman of Greensburg said that is released, Garsteck “will not have access to a vehicle, as well as child services are set up to make sure she takes care of her children. We want her clean and taking care of these children, not be in jail.”

The judge continued to say that Garsteck “has proved to make poor decisions. We cannot blame who prescribed her medication for these actions” and said that a consent order can be signed for the family to take care of her children. Moore said in order for Garsteck to be released, “she must give up her custodial rights” to her children.

Ms. Garsteck agreed to random drug and alcohol testing, as well as a mental health evaluation.

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