WICHITA COUNTY (KFDX/KJTL) — As fentanyl overdoses increase in Wichita County, District Attorney John Gillespie and his team are looking to reopen overdoses cases to potentially charge dealers with manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, or even felony murder.
“We are going to target you, and if people overdose, when we have the evidence that we need to make the case, that’s why that training was so important to know how to develop these types of cases,” Gillespie said. “We are going to treat them as homicides in the investigation phase and in the prosecution phase.”
The D.A.’s office and the Wichita Falls Police Department received training in July about innovative ways to investigate these types of cases.
Wichita Falls Police Sergeant Charlie Eipper said the training is similar to the early 2000s when the city of Plano was dealing with the heroin overdoses.
“A different route to get there that’s kind of a, ‘Oh yeah, we could do it that way,’ because it fits the elements of the offense and the culpable mental state,” Sgt. Eipper said. “Like I said, it’s been used before in the past, and so it’s just one of the things, we went and kind of got refresher training on it, and the ideas on how to do it and how to investigate it.”
“We’ve been through the methamphetamine epidemic, we’ve been through the cocaine epidemic and now we are looking at fentanyl, and we have been working on pushing back against this tide that’s looming, and we’re going to dedicate our efforts to that,” Chief Prosecutor Dobie Kosub said.
“It’s just continuing; we’re having episodes where the people are still having overdoses,” Sgt. Eipper said. “I wouldn’t doubt it at all that we’ll end up making more arrests for homicide-type cases that are selling these counterfeit pills.”
Eipper said the police are asking for the public’s help. If you see something, say something.
You can call the WFPD non-emergency number at (940) 720-5000 or Crime Stoppers at (940) 761-7777.