WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — A fentanyl-related Wichita Falls murder charge has been dismissed and replaced with manslaughter on one of the two defendants in the overdose death of 21-year-old Andres Diaz in July.
The district attorney filed to drop the murder charge on 22-year-old Leigha Smith after the November grand jury returned a ‘no bill’ and she was released from jail. Four days later, she was rearrested on a new manslaughter charge.
She remains jailed on $250,000 bond. Her murder bond had been $500,000.
Smith did not sell the pill that led to a death, but she had purchased two of them for herself and the victim.
The murder charge remains against the alleged seller of the pills, Jasinto Jimenez, who is jailed on $1 million bond and was indicted on October 20.
Police responded to the emergency room on July 15th to investigate a fatal overdose victim that Smith brought in.
According to the arrest affidavit, Smith drove Diaz to Jimenez’s home, where Jimenez sold them two pills appearing to be Percocet.
It said Smith swallowed one, and Diaz crushed and snorted the other and passed out. She drove to a house and said when she came out, he had stopped breathing, so Smith took him to the ER.
The autopsy indicated the cause of death as toxic effects of fentanyl.
As deaths from fentanyl overdoses began rising dramatically, District Attorney John Gillespie and his staff began looking at overdose cases to see if dealers could be charged with manslaughter, negligent homicide or even murder.
Gillespie has filed three murder charges against suppliers of fentanyl this year and has put dealers on notice that when deaths result from overdoses, his office is going to treat them as homicides in both the investigation and prosecution phases.