LACONIA — A city resident has been charged with selling the drug which allegedly caused the death of a person who was in recovery for drug addiction.
Guy Wills, 52, of Winter Street, in Laconia, is charged with sale of a controlled drug with death resulting, Laconia police report.
Wills was arrested on Feb. 16, and is scheduled to be arraigned on April 7 in Belknap Superior Court. He is presently free on bail, according to Police Chief Matt Canfield.
The initial report of Willis’ arrest, taken from the Laconia Police Dispatch Log for Feb. 16, and published in The Daily Sun on Feb. 19, indicated Wills had been arrested on two counts of that crime, but on Thursday Canfield said that was incorrect.
According to an affidavit prepared prior to Wills’ arrest, the victim, who was 32 years old, died March 9 of last year. The deceased’s body was found in a “rooming house for people in substance abuse recovery.” There was evidence of IV drug use near the victim’s body, including a baggie in a nightstand containing a powdery substance later identified as fentanyl, para-fluorofentanyl, and tramadol, an opioid pain reliever.
All told, there were 14 fatal overdose cases in the city last year, according to Canfield.
An autopsy performed by the state Medical Examiner’s Office, found the victim died from an overdose of fentanyl, the affidavit states. Other substances were found in his system as well, namely para-flourofentanyl, sometimes called a party pill, and kratom which, depending on the dose, can either act as a stimulant or sedative. The autopsy results were reported to police on May 4.
The day after learning the autopsy results and cause of death, police questioned Wills at the police station.
According to the affidavit, a cell phone found in the victim’s room contained chat messages starting two days before he was found dead that he was looking to buy drugs.
In questioning by police, Wills initially denied knowing the victim. But later admitted that they were known to one another, had exchanged text messages, and that the victim was looking to buy heroin or fentanyl. Wills further “admitted that he sold drugs to (the victim) one time,” the affidavit states.
One month after interviewing Wills, Laconia police received the toxicology report on the power substance in the victim’s nightstand.
People in recovery, such as the victim, are in a highly vulnerable state of mind.
“Early recovery is a very difficult time,” said Jaqui Abikoff, executive director of Horizons Counseling Center in Gilford. “They are dealing with feelings that they have not allowed themselves to feel because of the drugs.”
Speaking in general and not about this particular case, Abikoff said those in recovery need to learn coping skills to deal with bad feelings or memories and not grab onto the instant gratification from drugs.
“It can be overwhelming,” she said.
Although detectives were able to gather much of the information about the case last spring, it still took several months before police arrested Wills.
“We wouldn’t typically just rely on the word of the suspect. That has to be supported by other evidence or statements,” the chief said. That, he said, takes time.