Man charged in 2 NC heroin overdose deaths after pair found dead in motel

Randy Lee Nead in a photo from the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office

HENDERSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) — A man is being held on a $2 million bond in the heroin overdose deaths of two men found dead in a motel room in North Carolina earlier this year.

Henderson County deputies tell local media outlets that Randy Lee Nead of Pullman, Michigan is charged with two counts of second-degree murder distribution of drugs.

Authorities say 33-year-old John Matthew Tucker of Bald Knob, Arkansas and 34-year-old Leonard Paul Lefford Jr. of Allegan, Michigan were found dead in a room at the Mountain Inn and Suites in Flat Rock on Feb. 12.

The coroner determined the pair, who were working construction jobs in the Hendersonville area, died of heroin toxicity. Authorities allege that Nead shipped a package of heroin to the men leading to their deaths.

Officials said that investigators were able to show that the package containing the heroin had been shipped from Michigan by Nead.

“It was very obvious where this had come from. So investigators were able to trace back through FedEx where this had come from,” Henderson County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Major Frank Stout told WSPA.

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, WSPA reports

“We feel like the greater responsibility does go to the person that’s voluntarily supplying the illegal narcotic,” said District Attorney Greg Newman.

CBS North Carolina Investigates pulled data from 2010 to 2014 and found the number of people dying just from heroin use has jumped up 584 percent.

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.

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.

Nead was arrested in La Porte, Indiana and extradited to North Carolina. It was not immediately known if he had an attorney.

WOOD-TV, WSPA and The Associated Press contributed to this report

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