NORRISTOWN — A Lower Pottsgrove man has admitted that he illegally provided alcohol to a 16-year-old Skippack boy around the same time the boy allegedly stabbed his girlfriend to death in a local park.
Eric Scott Partlow, 26, of the 3000 block of East High Street, was sentenced in Montgomery County Court to one year of probation after he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of selling or furnishing alcohol to a minor in connection with his contact with accused killer Tristan Brian Stahley between May 9 and May 17, 2013, just days before Stahley allegedly killed his girlfriend, Julianne Siller.
As part of a plea agreement, accepted by Judge William R. Carpenter, Partlow agreed to testify truthfully against Stahley if called upon by prosecutors when Stahley’s trial gets under way later this year.
With the charges, State Police at Skippack alleged Partlow, on two occasions in May, purchased two bottles of raspberry vodka at Limerick Wine and Spirits, a state liquor store, and drove directly to a Skippack Pike convenience store where he met with Stahley in a rear parking lot. Stahley reportedly paid Partlow $50 for the alcohol on one occasion and $60 on the second occasion, according to a criminal complaint.
A 17-year-old friend of Stahley was with Stahley and witnessed one of the alcohol transfers on May 17, according to police.
Stahley and Partlow, according to an arrest affidavit, knew one another as co-workers at the Trappe Tavern.
The alcohol transactions occurred in the days leading up to May 25, when Stahley, of the 4100 block of Rittenhouse Lane, allegedly fatally stabbed Siller, a 17-year-old from Royersford who was about to graduate from Spring-Ford Area High School, in a park near the Perkiomen Trail during an argument.
The investigation began when state police responded to the Stahley home about 10:21 p.m. May 25 for a report of a domestic disturbance and diffused a struggle between Stahley and his father. At that time, Stahley allegedly confessed to police and led troopers to Siller’s body.
“During an interview in regards to the homicide, Stahley indicated that he had been drinking Smirnoff Raspberry Vodka, and that it had been purchased for him by a co-worker named Eric,” state police Trooper Paul Carr wrote in the criminal complaint filed against Partlow.
On May 29, state police went to the Trappe Tavern and met with Partlow, who admitted to purchasing alcohol for Stahley on two separate occasions, according to the criminal complaint.
Stahley, now 17, a former Perkiomen Valley High School student, is currently being held in the county jail without bail, awaiting trial on charges of first- and third-degree murder and possession of an instrument of crime in connection with Siller’s death. Police and prosecutors charged Stahley as an adult but Stahley’s lawyer, Timothy J. Barton, is seeking to move the case to juvenile court.
If Stahley is convicted of first-degree murder in adult court he could face life imprisonment. A conviction of third-degree murder in adult court could carry a possible maximum sentence of 20 to 40 years in prison.
However, if the case is transferred to juvenile court and the charges are proven, then Stahley could be kept under court supervision only until he’s 21. Assistant District Attorney Jeremy Abidiwan-Lupo is prosecuting Stahley.
Stahley and Siller had been dating “off and on” for about six to nine months at the time of the killing, according to court papers. The couple allegedly drove to the park off Creamery Road where they argued about Siller smashing Stahley’s phone and going out without him, according to court documents.
“Tristan said he used an orange handled EMT knife and stabbed Julianne in the throat and on her body,” according to the criminal complaint filed by county Detective Paul Bradbury and state police Trooper Barry Bertolet. “After the stabbing, Tristan said he then drug Julianne’s body into the woods to conceal her body.”
Authorities alleged the paramedic-style knife was found about 10 feet from Siller’s body. An autopsy determined Siller died from multiple stab and cutting wounds.
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