Man faces murder charge for deadly pills
Derrick Brandon Thomas, 38, of Douglas was arrested Friday, Jan. 28, 2022, and charged with felony murder, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI).
According to a warrant taken by the GBI on Jan. 26, Thomas caused the death of Jonathan Taylor McManus, 29, of Wedowee, Ala., in Adel, Ga. on Sept. 11, 2021, while Thomas was in the commission of a felony offense, O.C.G.A. 16-13-30(b), purchase, possession, manufacture, distribution, or sale of a controlled substance.
According to the warrant, Thomas knowingly sold and distributed Roxicodone (a brand name for oxycodone) pills that were laced with Fentanyl to a buyer. The warrant states that Thomas led the buyer “to believe that the pills were not pressed or counterfeit,” which caused the buyer and others who consumed the pills to believe they did not contain Fentanyl or other dangerous additives.
As a result, between 4 p.m. Sept. 10, 2021, and 8 a.m. Sept. 11, 2021, at a Debbie Drive, Adel, address, the buyer, McManus, and another user “suffered severe physical reactions to the ingestion of aforementioned pills.” McManus passed away, and the buyer had to be hospitalized for treatment, the warrant states.
According to an obituary posted by Benefield Funeral Home in Wedowee, Ala., McManus was a Randolph County, Ala. native. He was a member of Penfield Christian Church and worked building cargo trailers for Freedom Trailers in Tifton, Ga. Taylor served in the Alabama National Guard. He was survived by his mother and father, and several other family members.
The Cook County Sheriff’s Office served the warrant on Thomas, who is being held in the Cook County Jail.
On Jan. 31, Cook County Magistrate Judge Stephen Chammoun denied bond (pretrial release) for Thomas. According to the judge’s order, “the accused poses a significant threat or danger to people and property in the community.” Also, the accused was already on probation for aggravated stalking, a felony. Additionally, “the accused has been charged with crimes under O.C.G.A. 17-6-1, of which this court does not have the authority to set bond.” The defendant may still seek bond in a hearing before a Superior Court judge.
According to information reported during the first appearance/bond hearing in Magistrate Court, Thomas has completed school through the 12th grade and two years of college, has resided 20 years at his current address, and has been employed in Lakeland, Ga. He has declined a court-appointed defense attorney.
The case is pending in Cook County Superior Court.
We will have more information about this case in the Adel News Tribune.