POINT PLEASANT — A Pomeroy, Ohio man has been charged with first-degree murder following the reported overdose death of his girlfriend.
Phillip Brahm Ohlinger, 35, appeared in Mason County Magistrate Court on Wednesday for his preliminary hearing. Following the hearing, Magistrate Gail Roush found probable cause and the case now moves to Mason County Circuit Court for possible, further court proceedings. This could include the case being heard by a grand jury which convenes for the first time in 2018 in January. Preliminary hearings do not determine guilt, they determine if there is probable cause to believe that an offense has been committed.
According to the criminal complaint filed in magistrate court, on Dec. 14, Deputy J.C. Peterson with the Mason County Sheriff’s Department, was dispatched to a home in the 500-block of Campbell Lane in Point Pleasant in reference to a reported overdose. Upon Deputy Peterson’s arrival, he states he noticed an unresponsive female on the floor of the home. Mason County EMS arrived around the same time as Deputy Peterson and emergency personnel began administering the female medical treatment. The female was then transported to the Pleasant Valley Hospital emergency room. The complaint states hospital staff attempted to revive the female but were unsuccessful.
The initial caller to Mason County 911 was identified in the complaint as Ohlinger who was further identified as the boyfriend of the deceased female. Ohlinger reportedly followed emergency crews to the hospital the night of the female’s death, according to the complaint.
The complaint further states Deputy Peterson advised Ohlinger verbally of his Miranda Rights and Ohlinger reportedly waived his rights to speak to the deputy. Ohlinger then reportedly told Deputy Peterson the female had allegedly taken heroin. According to the complaint, Ohlinger further advised Deputy Peterson that Ohlinger and the deceased female had earlier gone to Gallia County, Ohio to purchase the alleged heroin. Ohlinger reportedly then stated once in Gallia County, he allegedly purchased $60 worth of heroin and after that, he and the female had returned to the home on Campbell Lane in Point Pleasant.
The complaint then states Ohlinger reportedly told Deputy Peterson he had “mixed up” the alleged heroin and reportedly “loaded up the syringes” with it. Ohlinger and the deceased then allegedly injected the suspected heroin, according to the complaint.
Ohlinger then reportedly stated he later found the female unresponsive and attempted to revive her for roughly 45 minutes before calling 911, according to the complaint.
Contained within the definition of first-degree murder in the West Virginia Code is the following: Murder by poison, lying in wait, imprisonment, starving, or by any willful, deliberate and premeditated killing, or in the commission of, or attempt to commit, arson, kidnapping, sexual assault, robbery, burglary, breaking and entering, escape from lawful custody, or a felony offense of manufacturing or delivering a controlled substance…”
Defendants convicted of first-degree murder in West Virginia could face life in prison.
Ohlinger remains incarcerated at the Western Regional Jail without bond. Deputy Peterson is the investigating officer in this case.
Beth Sergent is editor of Ohio Valley Publishing.