HARNETT COUNTY

Plea deal wraps up first overdose murder case

By RICK CURL
Senior staff writer
Posted 1/14/22

The first man to be charged with death by distribution in Harnett County took a plea agreement Tuesday in the killing of an Angier man in 2019.

Jordan Antonio Thorpe, also known as …

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HARNETT COUNTY

Plea deal wraps up first overdose murder case

Posted

The first man to be charged with death by distribution in Harnett County took a plea agreement Tuesday in the killing of an Angier man in 2019.

Jordan Antonio Thorpe, also known as “Rowdy” and 22 at the time of his arrest, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the November 2019 drug overdose death of Caleb Weaver.

Thorpe will serve between two years, one month and three years, three months in the North Carolina Department of Corrections under the sentence handed down by Superior Court Judge Winston Gilchrist.

After his term in state prison, Thorpe will be transferred to federal custody.

In federal court, Thorpe pleaded guilty to conspiring and possessing cocaine, crack, fentanyl and heroin for distribution and distributing fentanyl and a mixture of cocaine and fentanyl in December. The federal charges stem from an investigation in Johnston County.

Under the federal agreement, Thorpe will spend 10 years and three months in federal prison with five years of supervised release to follow.

He was initially charged with second-degree murder in connection with the overdose that claimed Weaver’s life. Deputies and EMS personnel were called to an Angier home and found Weaver unresponsive on Nov. 25, 2019. Weaver was 29 at the time of his death.

Harnett County District Attorney Suzanne Matthews said the young man’s death was the last part of a timeline that began two days prior.

“The investigation revealed that the defendant had communicated with Mr. Weaver via text message regarding the sale of controlled substances on the day of his death,” Matthews said. “The defendant then delivered the substances to Mr. Weaver’s home on Nov. 24.”

Weaver’s family called 911 the next morning after finding him unresponsive and not breathing on his bed. A straw with a white powder residue was laying on the bed beside him, according to an investigation report by Harnett County Medical Examiner Robert Barefoot.

Weaver had an extensive drug history and overdosed on heroin a week prior to his death, but was revived with Narcan that night.

An autopsy revealed he died of acute fentanyl and cocaine intoxication. His death was ruled an accident.

North Carolina added the death by distribution offense to its criminal code on Dec. 1, 2019, in an effort to hold drug dealers accountable in the war on opioids. Thorpe, of Lillington, was arrested on Dec. 18, 2019 and charged with second-degree murder since the crime occurred before the statute was enacted.

Future crimes of this nature will fall directly under the death by distribution law, which at minimum is a Class C felony, Matthews said.

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