Three More Face Charges in Teen’s Fentanyl Overdose Death in Jefferson County
ST. LOUIS – Three more people have been indicted in connection with the fatal fentanyl overdose of a 19-year-old in Jefferson County, Missouri, including those accused of supplying the man who gave drugs to the victim.
William Edward Martin, 22, of St. Louis County, appeared in court Tuesday and pleaded not guilty to five felonies: conspiracy to distribute fentanyl, distribution of fentanyl with a resulting death, distribution of fentanyl, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
The death resulting charge carries a potential penalty of 20 years to life in prison, and the fentanyl conspiracy charge is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
Martin was originally charged by complaint in July. Steven “Lemon” Littler, 33, Jacqueline Williamson, 33, and Tanisha Payne, 22, were added in an October 5 indictment.
Williamson also pleaded not guilty Tuesday. Littler pleaded not guilty October 6. Payne is expected to turn herself in Thursday.
“Hard work by federal and local investigators resulted in charges not only against the person who provided a fatal dose of fentanyl to the victim, but those higher up in the chain of supply,” said U.S. Attorney Sayler Fleming. “These charges won’t bring this young girl back, but will provide some accountability for a heinous crime and hopefully serve as a warning to those who sell this potentially fatal drug.”
Littler and Williamson also face the death resulting and conspiracy charges. Williamson also faces charges of possession with intent to distribute fentanyl, possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. Payne was indicted on the conspiracy charge and a charge of possession with intent to distribute fentanyl.
Charging documents say Martin sold fentanyl to the teen in a Walgreens parking lot in Arnold on June 23. Surveillance video shows the woman getting into a BMW with Martin. Martin then dragged the teen out of the BMW and put her in the backseat of her vehicle, where she was found dead the next morning.
Motions seeking to have Littler and Williamson held in jail until trial say they supplied Martin with fentanyl on multiple occasions, including the fentanyl that killed the teen. Their distribution of fentanyl “presents a lethal threat to those purchasing drugs,” a motion says. Williamson had a firearm on July 11, when law enforcement arrived at her home, and was using drugs, a motion says. Drugs were also being prepared for sale in her home, the motion says.
Both were also caught after their arrest with more suspected fentanyl hidden on their person, according to court documents and statements. Williamson failed to tell deputy U.S. Marshals after her arrest about the drugs, which were found at the federal courthouse. Suspected narcotics were found on Littler prior to his entry into jail.
"Overdose deaths are the tragic consequence of someone's greed and lack of regard for human life," said Special Agent in Charge Michael A. Davis, head of the Drug Enforcement Administration St. Louis Division. "With drug overdose deaths at historic highs, DEA will work relentlessly to destroy the criminal networks pouring dangerous drugs into our communities, so that they can longer cause harm to families."
Charges set forth in an indictment are merely accusations and do not constitute proof of guilt. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Besides DEA, the case is being investigated by the Arnold Police Department, the U.S. Marshals Service and the St. Louis County Police Department.