Plea Change in Ashley Long Helium Death

, Written by Craig Smullin, Posted: Tue, February 12 2013 at 12:03 PM, Updated: Tue, February 12 2013 at 5:55 PM

Shocking news from Jackson County Circuit Court. The two people charged in the death of 14-year old Ashley Long, the eagle point girl who died from inhaling helium last February, have changed their pleas.

According to a Monday filing from the Jackson County District Attorney's Office, Katherine 'Katie' McAloon and Richard Lee Mowery will be in court on Tuesday, March 5th for a plea change hearing.

The two were set to be tried as co-defendants this Wednesday. McAloon had previously pled not guilty to first-degree criminal mistreatment, seven counts of delivery of marijuana to a minor and seven counts of furnishing alcohol to a person younger than 21.

Richard Ward Mowery was facing the most serious charge related to Ashley Long's death - 1 count of criminally negligent homicide, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. Mowery also pleaded not guilty.

District Attorney Beth Heckert in a June 2012 interview said "...the helium tank was already at the house, but it wasn't something that the juveniles were using. It was in a box. He is the person who went over and got it out of the box and started using it himself and showing them how to use it."

Investigators say McAloon provided alcohol and marijuana to long and a group of young teens that night, then Mowery brought out the helium.

Autopsy results show Long died from an air embolism caused by inhalation of helium from a pressurized canister.

Heckert declined to comment today, meanwhile calls to Mowery and McAloon's attorneys were not returned.

About the Author

Craig Smullin

NBC5 News Director Craig Smullin co-anchors NBC5 News at 6 and hosts the 5 on 5 Feature Interview on NBC5 News at 5.

A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, Craig graduated from Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, California with a degree in Recreation Administration and Sports Management.

Since joining NBC5 News in 2005, Craig has performed virtually every job in the newsroom: News and Sports Reporter, Sports Anchor, Producer, series and segment Host and Anchor of NBC5 News at Sunrise and NBC5 News at 5. He became News Director in January, 2014.

When he's not managing a busy newsroom, Craig spends time with his wife, two young sons and two dogs. He is a dedicated fan of the San Francisco 49ers and Portland Trailblazers and loves snow boarding the slopes of Mt. Ashland.

Catch Craig anchoring weekdays on NBC5 News at 6pm.

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