Last updated: January 14. 2014 11:47PM -
JON O’CONNELL joconnell@timesleader.com



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WILKES-BARRE — A Wilkes-Barre woman who fled to Newark N.J., last month after being accidentally shot in her apartment was charged Tuesday with selling marijuana.


Catherine Thomas, 23, had fled to New Jersey with Lawshawn Burgman, 31, for medical treatment after Burgman fired his handgun accidentally, shooting himself and Thomas, according to arrest papers.


According to police affidavits:


The Newark Police Department contacted Wilkes-Barre police and told them that Thomas and Burgman were being treated for gunshot wounds at East Orange General Hospital in Newark. Both claimed their wounds were received accidentally as Burgman was pulling the gun from his waistband while Thomas was laying on top of him.


Both told officers they were afraid of repercussions and drove to New Jersey to avoid an investigation.


Burgman, of Wyoming, was in Thomas’ building 308 apartment, where she lives with a small child. Burgman told police he had bought the .380-caliber handgun from a man he didn’t know at a local bar, and he wasn’t sure where the gun was.


A Wilkes-Barre detective acquired a search warrant to look for the handgun in Thomas’ apartment and any other evidence that could be used in the case. While searching the apartment, police noticed a strong smell of marijuana emanating from a men’s shaving bag, which prompted a second warrant.


Police found pot and a crystal substance separated into smaller packages, as if for sale.


Burgman was charged last Tuesday with intent to deliver a controlled substance. He remains jailed for lack of $20,000 bail. Thomas was released on $20,000 unsecured bail.


Under the city’s new one-strike ordinance, an effort to stamp out drug and violence problems, Thomas’ apartment unit was shut down and it cannot be rented for six months.

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