Florida could become first state to execute convicted drug dealers for selling lethal doses of fentanyl
Sonny Priest’s friend found him dead in his home in Altamonte Springs, Florida, the week before Christmas 2016. Priest had overdosed on alprazolam, cocaine, heroin, and fentanyl, a medical examiner ruled.
Six months after Priest’s death, Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed a law expanding the state’s first-degree murder code to include selling a lethal dose of fentanyl. The law, which only applies to adults, took effect Oct. 1. Priest’s alleged dealer, Tamas Harris, was eight days into adulthood when Priest died. This month, 18-year-old Harris will go to court an accused murderer. If convicted, he faces the death penalty.
Florida law already allowed dealers of drugs like cocaine or heroin to be charged with first-degree murder when their drugs led to fatal overdose. But overdose rates have skyrocketed in the state with the proliferation of fentanyl, a drug up to 50 times more powerful than heroin. Fentanyl and heroin are sometimes combined without the buyer or distributor’s knowledge, creating a cocktail of indeterminate strength.
More News Headlines