Overdose: Murder charges may be appropriate

The Parkersburg Police Department made an important move forward in the fight against the horrific drug epidemic that is plaguing our region when it was able to gather enough evidence to charge a suspected drug dealer with murder. According to Police Chief Joe Martin, a series of unusual circumstances made such a charge possible.

In investigating an overdose death Jan. 31, police encountered an uncontaminated crime scene, something Martin says is not typical. The information they gathered led to the source of the drugs that caused the overdose. Importantly, police believe that suspect knew he was selling deadly drugs.

He “informed the victim that the potency of the narcotics was so high that it could cause death to a person if they chose to inject the substance,” Martin said. But, according to police, he sold the fentanyl to the victim, anyway.

This is the first time such a charge has been filed in Wood County, and police and Wood County Prosecutor Pat Lefebure are to be commended for their work.

“In general, it’s a very difficult legal proposition to go forward on,” Lefebure said.

Pursuing the charge will likely be difficult, and circumstances may never again align to allow even the attempt.

But doing so now hammers home an important message to those who peddle deadly substances in Wood County. When you are caught, you may face more than charges of possession with intent to deliver; you might be charged with murder.