Shen heroin suspect awaits rehab in jail
Updated 8:54 a.m.
CLIFTON PARK Daniel Lewis stood in shackles Thursday, silent and expressionless as Judge Robert Ryback told him he’d be heading back to Saratoga County jail for the night.
The 17-year-old Shenendehowa student accused of injecting a 15-year-old classmate with heroin on school grounds is due for an evaluation at a rehabilitation center in Troy. The hope, Ryback said, is for Lewis to be placed into a 28-day inpatient rehabilitation facility.
Whether Lewis will be able to find placement remains unclear. Ryback also mentioned the possibility of enrolling the teen in a much longer outpatient program, depending on the results of his evaluation.
But until a program can be found, Ryback decided to keep Lewis’ bail at $2,500. And that will most likely mean he’ll remain at the jail where he’s stayed since his arrest on the Shenendehowa campus last week.
“Bottom line is, the program we’re trying to come up with is the program that will help you,” he told Lewis. “A lot of that depends on how things go tomorrow.”
Tom Lewis, the boy’s father, remained quiet in the rear of the court until Ryback summoned him to the bench. He agreed to give his son a ride to the rehab facility today, but said little else as the boy was led to an enclosure to meet with an official with the Saratoga County Probation Department.
If Lewis lands in inpatient treatment today, he will return to court Feb. 6. Then, both prosecutors and his public defender will discuss a resolution of the one felony and four misdemeanor charges he faces.
Dressed in a hooded black shirt with a skeleton graphic and sporting a pair of checkered skinny jeans, Lewis appeared nonchalant in court and made a kissing gesture at a photographer as he was led to a patrol car that was to return him to jail. His father sat in the court with his head in his hands.
Lewis is charged with felony injection of a narcotic drug. He’s also charged with possession of a controlled substance, endangering the welfare of a child and possession of a hypodermic instrument, all misdemeanors.
School officials were initially told Lewis was involved in a suspicious exchange of pills with another student in the East High School’s locker room. The 15-year-old was initially questioned by administrators and examined by a school nurse.
A school official described the 15-year-old boy’s demeanor as “very jittery and looking nervous” as questioning began. After disclosing he had been injected with heroin, the official located a “pin mark” in a crease on the boy’s forearm.
Meanwhile, Lewis initially denied having any knowledge of the incident. But when a school official searched his belongings, needles were discovered, along with “a pill cutter, waxy paper in a mint tin, a couple of spoons [and] an empty pill vial with no prescription label,” according to court documents..
The 15-year-old boy acknowledged he allowed Lewis to inject him with the drug.
The boy said Lewis did not take any of the drug.
During Thursday’s court appearance, Ryback acknowledged Lewis would be released from custody for a brief period of time today. He warned him to not take advantage of his momentary release.
“You are going to have a couple hours of freedom,” he said. “If you abuse that, you’re going to be back before me, and you’re not going to like that.”