HENDERSON COUNTY, N.C. – In 2014, more than 250 people died of a heroin overdose in North Carolina, according to North Carolina Public Health.
“We will have here in Henderson County 4-5 overdoses per month,” said Henderson County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Major Frank Stout.
Two of those deaths happened back in February when John Tucker and Leonard Lefford overdosed on heroin.
When Tucker didn’t show up for work on February 12, he and Lefford were found dead inside a hotel room at the Mountain Inn and Suites in Flat Rock.
When investigators gathered evidence, they linked the drugs to the dealer from Michigan, who was arrested in Indiana.
“It was very obvious where this had come from so investigators were able to trace back through FedEx where this had come from,” said Major Stout.
Randy Lee Nead is now charged with two counts of second degree murder, and sits in the Henderson County jail under $2 Million bond.
“We feel like the greater responsibility does go to the person that’s voluntarily supplying the illegal narcotic,” said District Attorney Greg Newman.
In North Carolina, a statute specifically states that the consequence can be a second degree murder charge if someone distributes opium, cocaine, or meth and the user dies from the drug. Polk County saw a similar case two years ago. This law is not in South Carolina.
“That was a man from Philadelphia Pennsylvania, who provided heroin to a young lady who was in a rehab facility in Polk County, and she died as a result of taking the narcotics he provided,” said Newman.
Investigators say the challenge is linking the user back to who supplies the drugs ruining lives across the state.
“The reality on the ground here is we are seeing a real problem with the pills prescription narcotics that are the opiates, and now the powder heroin,” said Newman.
If convicted, Nead faces 10 to 30 years in prison for each murder count. He’s also facing charges for distributing those drugs.