Woman indicted on first-degree murder charge for distributing drugs that led to a death

Reporter: Anika Henanger
Published: Updated:

A grand jury indicted Jessica Nicole Wright on a first-degree murder charge for the distribution of fentanyl that led to the death of a woman.

It’s the first time in the 20th Judicial Circuit a person has been charged under this statute.

The indictment charges that Wright, on or about Aug. 22, 2019, in Lee County, did unlawfully distribute a controlled substance, Fentanyl, which caused the death of a woman.

“In Florida, the First Degree Murder Statute allows a person to be charged if they distribute a controlled substance that causes a person to die. I want to make it clear, that if you distribute an illegal substance in the 20th Judicial Circuit that causes someone’s death, and the facts and evidence are there to support the crime, you will be charged with First Degree Murder,” said State Attorney Amira Fox.

Law enforcement hopes this sends a message to drug dealers and makes them think twice before selling or distributing drugs.

According to the State Attorney’s Office, Wright gave fentanyl to Kimberly Foust near Tice Elementary School. A grand jury decided to indict her for the death of Foust, who died after receiving the drugs from Wright.

But to charge someone under this law, law enforcement must make that connection.

This statute is controversial, attorney Pamella Seay explained.

“The fact that a death resulted from it is horrible. It’s tragic. It’s the worst thing it could possibly do,” Seay said. “But is this proportional to the act of selling the fentanyl to have a capital felony?”

Law enforcement must prove directly a drug sale ended someone’s life.

“A lot of people would say, ‘Absolutely not, you sold it; they died; and so should you,” Seay said.

This statute is part of a push, Seay told us, to be tough on drugs. Now that it has been successful, she said we might see the charge again in similar circumstances.

Wright was previously arrested in Operation Block Party that concluded in September, led by the Narcotics Enforcement Task Force, known as NETFORCE. In late 2019, State Attorney Fox created NETFORCE to coordinate a circuit-wide approach to identifying, investigating, and dismantling long-term organized crime, narcotics, racketeering, and money-laundering criminal enterprises.

“I want to thank the Grand Jury for their attention to the information presented in these two very serious cases, over the last two days. The facts and evidence in these cases were not easy to hear or see. I appreciate their time and professionalism in this matter,” said Fox.

Lee County Grand Jury has indicted defendant Jessica Niccole Wright for:

  • Count I: First Degree Murder -Unlawful Distribution of Fentanyl, F.S. 782.04 (1)(a)(3); 777.011, Capital Felony
  • Count II: Sale or Delivery of a Controlled Substance, F.S. 893.13(1)(a); 777.011, Second Degree Felony
  • Count III: Sale or Delivery of a Controlled Substance within 1,000 ft. of a School, F.S.
    893.13(1)(c); 777.011, First Degree Felony
  • Count IV: Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Sell or Deliver within 1,000 ft. of a School, F.S. 893.13(1)(c); 777.011, First Degree Felony

Watch the full press conference below or click here.

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