David F. Downey
Gene Walsh  /  Norristown Herald file
David F. Downey, 52, of Limerick, Pa., arrives at a preliminary hearing on Feb. 6, in King of Prussia, Pa. Downey, was convicted Wednesday in the drug-related death of Ashley Burg, a teenage escort who became sick in his home.
updated 6/14/2006 10:06:16 PM ET 2006-06-15T02:06:16

A businessman was found guilty Wednesday of supplying a 17-year-old escort with drugs that killed her at his upscale suburban home.

When the girl got sick, 52-year-old David F. Downey frantically called one of the girl’s friends and begged her to come and “get this girl out of my house,” according to testimony from the friend.

“This is a man who uses cocaine and girls. He exploits women,” Montgomery County prosecutor Samantha Cauffman said after Downey was convicted of a charge equivalent to third-degree murder and other counts. “He treats her like a piece of trash he thinks she is, not the human being she is.”

Over the years, Downey paid tens of thousands of dollars to hire escorts to do drugs and have oral sex at his home, according to testimony. When Ashley Burg, of Willingboro, N.J., got sick over a period of several hours on July 31, he called one of her friends — a topless dancer — and asked her to take the girl away, the dancer testified.

Eventually, the woman and her boyfriend came to take Burg to the hospital. But prosecutors said they discovered she was dead and accepted $2,000 from Downey to dump her body, which was found in northeast Philadelphia.

On the most serious charge of drug delivery resulting in death, Downey could face anywhere from five to 40 years in prison.

His attorney, Thomas C. Egan III, said he would appeal.

Egan argued that the teen escort may have used cocaine that Downey did not provide. Downey made a series of horrible decisions, Egan said, but did not act out of malice.

“Medically it appears that she was dead very rapidly,” he said. “He panicked and didn’t know how to handle the situation.”

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