Forest City couple pleads not guilty to providing oxycodone to woman who later died in accident

GARNER — Both members of a Forest City couple charged with providing oxycodone to a woman who later died in an accident in Hancock County have now pleaded not guilty.

61-year-old Bert Maharas and 63-year-old Joni Maharas have been charged with conspiracy to distribute oxycodone, a Class C felony. A criminal complaint says they sold oxycodone pills on May 31st to Tara Hartigan of Forest City, who later that day was involved in a rollover crash on 335th Street west of US Highway 69 in Hancock County. Hartigan died the next day at MercyOne North Iowa Medical Center in Mason City.

The complaint says during a conversation between the Maharases and law enforcement on October 22nd about messages found on Hartigan’s phone, they allegedly admitted that Hartigan bought anywhere between 15 to 20 oxycodone pills from them each month.

Bert Maharas filed a written plea of not guilty last month while Joni Maharas filed a not guilty plea on Tuesday in Hancock County District Court.

Their trails are scheduled to start on February 21st.