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Lebanon man charged with murder in overdose death

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Posted at 1:04 PM, Oct 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-03 14:04:16-04

LEBANON, Tenn. (WTVF) — A Lebanon man has been charged with murder for drug distribution that resulted in the overdose death of one person.

According to the District Attorney's Office serving the Greater Nashville area, 28-year-old James Haynes has been charged with second degree murder for supplying drugs with fentanyl to Thomas Benjamin, Jr. in May of this year.

Benjamin died after an overdose from the drugs.

"Criminals are mixing the drug fentanyl into a number of substances and selling them as other drugs," the assistant district attorney on the case said. "Drug users believe that they are ingesting heroin, Xanax, methamphetamine, cocaine or pills - when in fact the substance they are putting into their bodies is fentanyl. Fentanyl is many times more powerful than the other drug, and this results in the overdose death"

Last year, the Tennessee General Assembly passed Public Chapter 995. This is a law that says those who sell, deliver or administer a drug with fentanyl commits second degree murder if the user dies from the drug.

"This new law is a tool we can use to try to slow down some of these overdose deaths, and prosecutors certainly intend to use it," the assistant district attorny said. "The lesson is simple - if you don't get it from your pharmacy, don't take it. Drugs on the street are often not what they are claimed to be."

Haynes is jailed on a bond of $100,000.

This is the second case in this district under the new law. A Nashville man was arrested in August after a similar overdose death in February.