Teen girls testify woman gave them marijuana, alcohol at Brownville party

By Alex Barber, BDN Staff
Posted March 20, 2012, at 12:43 p.m.

DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — Six 13- and 14-year-old girls testified Tuesday that a friend’s mother provided them with marijuana and alcohol during a birthday party in Brownville last March.

Tanya Donnelly, 37, of Brownville is being tried on seven counts, including aggravated unlawful furnishing of marijuana, aggravated furnishing of a scheduled drug, furnishing of alcohol to minors, and endangering the welfare of a child.

The girls attended a birthday party at their friend’s house on March 24, 2011. Certain details varied among the witnesses, but they gave the same general account during their testimony in Piscataquis County Superior Court. The witnesses are not being named because they are minors.

The friends arrived at the Brownville home of Tanya Donnelly’s father, Al Donnelly, where the girls ate food and played games before several witnesses said Donnelly whispered to her daughter about having them smoke marijuana at her house two streets away.

Donnelly and all six girls walked from her father’s Lincoln Street home to her house on Van Horne Avenue near Route 11. Donnelly had been staying with her father because her home had flooded, said the witnesses.

“We all went downstairs [to the basement] where [Donnelly] went to a bookshelf,” said one of the girls who attended. “She had a bong and a bag with weed in it.”

The witness said Donnelly and three of the girls smoked marijuana while other girls who didn’t want to smoke waited at the top of the stairs.

One girl said Donnelly showed them how to use the bong.

“I was like, ‘Oh my goodness.’ What if someone comes in?” said the same witness. “I was scared.”

After they were done, Donnelly sprayed air freshener around the room and the girls who smoked were given gum to mask the scent, according to testimony. One witness said Donnelly sprayed the air freshener on the girls themselves.

Donnelly and the girls then left the house and walked back to the Lincoln Street residence, where the subject of alcohol came up. The witnesses’ stories didn’t agree on whose idea it was.

According to a clerk at the General Store and More, located near Lincoln Street, Donnelly purchased Mike’s Hard Lemonade at about 8 that night.

“She put on a lot of perfume [before entering],” said clerk Taylor Johnson, who said she remembered Donnelly that night. “It was really strong.”

The witnesses said Donnelly poured them drinks with the alcoholic lemonade and another mixer that one witness referred to as Kool-Aid.

All of the girls said they tried it, but one may have had too much.

“[One of the girls] drank more than anyone else and got a buzz from it,” said a witness.

When one of the girls went to her nearby home to return a laptop to her mother, the girl who witnesses said had too much to drink tried to kiss the brother of one of the girls.

“[She] was all over him and kissing him,” said a witness.

The same girl then wanted to fight a neighbor girl whom witnesses said she didn’t like.

“She threw a snowball at us and I flipped out,” said the girl who witnesses said had too much to drink.

The girl who drank too much “seemed hyper. She wanted to beat up [the neighbor girl],” said another witness.

To calm her down, witnesses said Donnelly gave her Klonopin, a drug typically provided for panic disorders.

“I got a pill that I thought was Tylenol. It made my headache worse. She gave me more and I went to sleep,” said the girl.

Several of the witnesses said the leftover alcohol was finished off the next day.

All the girls said they thought they were doing something wrong that evening, but didn’t tell anyone until a week later, when three of the girls told a teacher and a guidance counselor, who in turn contacted police.

“I felt bad that I did it,” said one witness. “[Donnelly] said we shouldn’t tell anybody because she could get in a lot of trouble for it.”

Brownville police Officer Chad Perkins said Donnelly was cooperative with police when contacted. She even let him search her house, he said.

At the Lincoln Street residence, Perkins said police found empty Mike’s Hard Lemonade bottles, and at the Van Horne Avenue home they found pieces of leaves and seeds that were consistent with marijuana.

During his cross-examination of Perkins, Dale Thistle, Donnelly’s attorney, pointed out that the prosecution presented no photos of the leaves and seeds and that no one at the Brownville Police Department was an expert in marijuana identification.

The jury trial will continue Wednesday morning.

http://bangordailynews.com/2012/03/20/news/piscataquis/13-year-old-girls-testify-woman-gave-them-marijuana-alcohol-at-brownville-party/ printed on September 21, 2014