Defendant: Overdose victim could have lived

Philip Anselmo

Carl Erb Jr. trembled and wept as his statement was read during a preliminary hearing Thursday in Canandaigua city court.

According to Erb's statement, Katie Saxby would have lived if he had taken her to the hospital instead of pulling her from his car and leaving her by the side of the road at a Saltonstall Street mobile home park.

The statement was read by Canandaigua Police Department Detective Scott Kadien. Erb has been charged with second-degree manslaughter in the drug overdose death of Saxby.

“It bothers me a lot,” Kadien read from Erb’s statement. “I was the last one to see Katie. I was responsible ... to get her home safe.”

Erb, 48, of 114 Conesus Place in the Friendly Village mobile home park in Manchester, said he saw Saxby, 20, in Rochester and, recognizing her, offered to take her to the mobile home on Saltonstall Street where she was staying with her mother, Susan Oberdorf.

Erb and Saxby then drove to get three dime-bags of crack cocaine that they smoked in the car before driving back to Canandaigua, according to Erb’s statement.

Saxby injected heroin during the drive, though Erb said he didn't know how much or where it had come from, according to the statement, which said he had never used the drug.

She then “nodded out” and leaned against the passenger-side window of the car with her eyes closed, he said in the statement. She was unresponsive and moaned, but did not speak, as he pulled her from the car and left her by the side of the road.

According to Canandaigua police, she had suffered an overdose. Erb said he left her at the park between 10:45 and 10:50 p.m. Her body was found by a passer-by at 12:39 a.m., and she was later pronounced dead at Thompson Hospital.

Erb is accused of “recklessly” causing Saxby’s death by not taking her to a hospital or calling for help.

“The heroin killed her, but I should have got her help,” Kadien read from Erb’s statement.

When asked why he had not taken Saxby to the hospital, Erb had responded that he “didn't want to ruin her high.” She was unresponsive when he removed her from his car at the park, so he shook her and “told her she was home, and there was no answer.”

Saxby’s family was stoic while defense attorney Frank Hamlin cross-examined Kadien.

Hamlin inquired into Erb’s relationship with Saxby and whether or not Erb would have been sought by police before he voluntarily showed up to the police department after he had heard of Saxby’s death.

Did Erb give her the heroin or help her inject it, Hamlin asked Kadien. The answer to both was no.

After hearing Erb’s statement and the cross-examination of Kadien by Hamlin, Judge Stephen Aronson ruled there was enough evidence to support the manslaughter charge. The case will now be transferred to Ontario County Court and be presented to a grand jury. Erb will remain in Ontario County Jail without bail.

Saxby’s sister, Samantha Bergman, said she was “pleased” with the judge's decision.

“As the DA said, she was not a bag of garbage to be left at the side of the road,” said Bergman, referring to District Attorney R. Michael Tantillo’s earlier comment. “She was my sister, and an aunt, a niece, a mother and a daughter. She was not a bag of garbage.”

-- Daily Messenger