A man from St. Louis County, Missouri on Friday admitted supplying the fentanyl that killed a 19-year-old in Jefferson County, Missouri, in 2022.
William Edward Martin, 23, is the final of four defendants in the case. Martin pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in St. Louis to four felonies: conspiracy to distribute fentanyl, distribution of fentanyl with a resulting death, distribution of fentanyl and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Martin now faces at least 20 years and up to life in prison for the fatal distribution charge alone when he is sentenced January 26.
Martin admitted that on June 23, 2022, he met the victim in the parking lot of a Walgreens in Arnold, Missouri. She got into the car he was driving, a black BMW, and a short time after he provided her with fentanyl, he took the victim out of his car and placed her in the backseat of her own vehicle. The incident was captured on video, and the victim appeared incapacitated and in medical distress.
She was found dead early the next morning by her father, who had been searching for her after she failed to come home.
Martin would later admit in a text message that, “I could’ve called 911 or could brought her to the hospital… there’s so many things I could’ve done to save her and now she’s dead.”
During the investigation of her death, Arnold police spotted the BMW, which sped off. Police later caught the BMW, and the driver, Tanisha Payne, said she’d dropped Martin off at a gas station. Officers found a safe inside the car that contained fentanyl, hallucinogens, prescription drugs and drug paraphernalia. They caught Martin behind a supermarket with a loaded pistol.
Steven “Lemon” Littler, 34, and Jacqueline Williamson, 34, admitted supplying fentanyl to Martin and Payne. Littler had been selling the drug to Martin for several months, Martin’s plea says. Littler also warned Martin of the potency of his fentanyl, calling it “deadly strong” and “dangerous,” the plea says.
In his plea agreement, Martin admitted selling fentanyl to others.
When Williamson was arrested at her home in St. Louis, investigators found both fentanyl and methamphetamine, as well as paraphernalia for packaging the drugs for sale. Payne, now 23, also had fentanyl and drug paraphernalia when she was arrested.
Littler was sentenced to 210 months in prison earlier this year. Williamson, who pleaded guilty to a fentanyl distribution charge, and Payne, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute fentanyl, have not yet been sentenced.
The case is being investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Arnold Police Department, The U.S. Marshals Service and the St. Louis County Police Department.