This February will be six years since Stephen passed away. We miss him everyday.
Man guilty of perjury in GHB case
By: Gary Weckselblatt
When it was all over, after the jury had announced its verdict, Dave Zellis walked from the prosecutor's table to the back of the courtroom and leaned over the railing to speak with Jon and Tobi Krueger.
Hopefully he took a deep breath, because Tobi Krueger gave him a strong hug.
"I've been waiting five years for this," she said.
She was referring to the jury's guilty verdict in Bucks County Court Friday for Dennis Schwendiman on three of four charges in the drug-induced death of Stephen Krueger.
A former county resident now living in Elmont, N.Y., Schwendiman, 36, faces seven years in prison for perjury, a felony, and two misdemeanor counts of false swearing. He was found not guilty for delivery of a controlled substance.
"Dennis isn't getting what he should be getting, but he is being held responsible," said Tobi Krueger, who wanted to thank the jury for their efforts.
Jon Krueger said Schwendiman "could try to lie to the grand jury and to police, but he knows what he did. He's going to have plenty of time to think about it now."
On Feb. 23, 2004, Schwendiman admitted giving Stephen Krueger, 22, a sports drink laced with gamma hydroxybutyric acid, known as "GHB" or "scoops" at the L.A. Fitness in Falls, where Krueger was employed.
GHB is an illegal depressant and intoxicant that has been used as a date rape drug and abused at all-night dance parties. The substance is also taken by weightlifters, who use it to help them sleep and recover quickly from a workout.
After Krueger became ill, Schwendiman drove him to the Middletown home of his mother, who was out of town. Schwendiman helped him to his mother's bed and then went out to eat with another L.A. Fitness employee.
Later that night, returning to his mother's home, Schwendiman said he tried to wake Krueger up but his "eyes kept rolling back" and he had vomited in the bed.
He took him downstairs but "he had very little leg to him."
Rather than call 911, Schwendiman drove Krueger to Frankford Hospital. During the trial he testified that he told emergency room personnel at Frankford Hospital that Krueger had consumed GHB. But when Zellis asked him to read the hospital's report on Krueger, it didn't mention the drug.
"And you know that would be the first thing they'd put down," Zellis said.
David H. Knight, Schwendiman's attorney, said his client "certainly could have prevented the death if he operated more responsibly. He has been over this a million times, and knows he should have taken him out of L.A. Fitness right to the hospital."
Knight said he couldn't "quibble" with the jury's verdict. "I am very pleased with the fact he was acquitted of the delivery charge. For perjury, he will face some consequences."
Zellis, Bucks County's First Assistant District Attorney, said Schwendiman lied to "save himself from any criminal responsibility in Stephen Krueger's death. Now he faces a felony conviction and jail time for his lies."
Schwendiman, Zellis said, had a "cavalier, arrogant demeanor throughout this whole investigation."
The conviction, he said, "reinforces the fact that if you're called to testify (to a grand jury) you better tell the truth or we're going to go after you for perjury."
For Jon and Tobi Krueger, who silently sat side-by-side during the three-day trial, the jury's verdict will bring them a measure of peace.
And while "February has been a bad month" since their son's death five years ago, Jon Krueger said, this February will bring the promise of a bright future when their daughter Heather Bostwick is scheduled to give birth to twins.
Gary Weckselblatt can be reached at 215-345-3169 or email@example.com.
September 19, 2009 05:00 AM