Man charged with drinking $100k rare whiskey dies

14th August, 2014 by Melita Kiely

A mansion caretaker charged with drinking more than US$100,000 worth of rare pre-Prohibition whiskey his employer found hidden in the walls of her home has died, ending the criminal case against him.

Old-Farm-whiskey

Former caretaker John W. Saunders was accused of drinking more than US$100,000 of rare pre-Prohibition whiskey

John W. Saunders, aged 63, was charged with theft and receiving stolen property for allegedly consuming 52 bottles of vintage whiskey after his DNA was found on the lip of three of the bottles.

He denied the charges.

According to court records, Saunders died on 21 July and the following week Westmoreland County Judge Rita Hathaway dismissed the case.

Saunders was the caretaker for mansion owner Patricia Hill, who found nine cases of Old Farm Pure Rye produced by the West Overton Distilling Co. in the early 1900s, in the walls and stairwell of her Georgian mansion in Pittsburgh, US.

They were uncovered while Hill was renovating the property into a bed and breakfast.

The remaining cases are now on display behind security glass at the mansion and Hill hopes to obtain the empty bottles from police to donate to a museum.

“I guess in the end all the news coverage has helped the business,” Hill told the Tribune-Review. “It wasn’t a total loss.”

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