Woman pleads guilty in fentanyl-laced heroin overdose death

Becky Campbell • Oct 17, 2019 at 11:00 PM

One of two women charged with second-degree murder after being accused of providing fentanyl-laced heroin to a man who died after using it pleaded guilty to a lesser charge Thursday in a Jonesborough courtroom.

To get the plea agreement worked out between Assistant District Attorney General Erin McArdle and defense attorney Travis McCarter, Tasha Williams had to agree to a sentence far outside her true sentencing range. Williams, who had no prior criminal convictions, only faced two to eight years in prison, but agreed to a 15-year sentence to avoid trial.

She will be eligible for parole after serving 30 percent of the sentence, but there is no guarantee the parole board would grant release at that time.

If convicted of second-degree murder at trial, Williams would have faced 15 to 25 years in prison. Her co-defendant, Darlicia Jordan, was also expected to enter a guilty plea on Thursday, but her case was delayed until December.

Williams, 43, and Jordan, 32, were arrested March 2 after a Washington County grand jury returned indictments charging them in the death of Matthew Buckingham, a local real estate agent.

Buckingham, 30, died Nov. 29, 2017, after he injected heroin investigators and prosecutors believe he obtained from Williams and Jordan.

During her plea, Williams said she didn’t know the heroin had fentanyl in it.

Each woman was charged with one count of reckless homicide, one count of sale of a schedule I controlled substance in a drug-free school zone and one count of delivery of a schedule I controlled substance in a drug-free school zone.

Williams also was charged with maintaining a dwelling where narcotics are sold.

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