POSTED: Thursday, November 14, 2013 - 8:09pm
UPDATED: Thursday, November 14, 2013 - 8:12pm
BATON ROUGE, LA (NBC33) — In a rare move, second degree murder charges have been leveled against 24 year-old Jarret McCasland for supplying his 19 year-old girlfriend with the heroin that allegedly killed her.
"That's cause for second degree murder, and it's one that the police have always investigated, but it's just so difficult to do. You have to show that not only did that person give them the drugs, but that the drugs were the direct cause of death," explained District Attorney Hillar Moore.
McCasland was indicted by a grand jury earlier this week on the charge, something Moore said is a first in recent memory.
"These types of indictments for administering or distributing drugs to someone who eventually dies is unusual, they're very difficult, but we're not going to shy away from difficult cases," said Moore.
While Moore said they are not trying to send any kind of message to heroin users and dealers, he admits the case could carry a warning.
"Maybe it will sound some alarms and have people stand up and say, 'you know this is something bad that if I do this I could face murder charges,' but that wasn't the intent of this case or the grand jury," said Moore.
Coroner Dr. Beau Clark said he has seen too many people come through the morgue this year as a result of deadly heroin overdoses. He said changes in sentencing laws could have something to do with the heroin overdose epidemic and he has started to push to tighten those laws back up for dealers.
"They reduced that from the mandatory life sentencing down to five to thirty years, so it created an environment that a drug dealer might want to come sell drugs in Louisiana," explained Clark.
Dr. Clark also explained that in 2013, thus far, there have been 28 confirmed heroin overdoses. In 2012 there were just five for the entire year.