Two face charges in drug-related death

By Betty Simpson |, Anna Carrera

Published 02/13 2014 04:29PM

Updated 04/07 2014 05:35PM

Update: 12:11 pm, 4/7/14, Monday
EFFINGHAM -- Charges have been upgraded for at least one suspect in the death of an area woman. Authorities say 23-year old Jay Miller, of Altamont, committed drug-induced homicide, a Class X felony, by giving heroin to 29-year old Jessica James, of Effingham, on February 4, 2014.

James died from a heroin overdose. If convicted, Miller faces 15 - 30 years in prison.

Initially, Miller and 23-year old Albert Church, of Effingham, were charged with the Class 2 felony of delivery of a controlled substance. Police believe Church arranged for James' purchase of heroin from Miller.
Original: 4:29 pm, 2/13/14, Thursday
EFFINGHAM COUNTY -- Two men were arrested in connection with a drug-related death. This is the second time this week there have been charges stemming from a heroin overdose in Central Illinois.

A Coles County woman died from a heroin overdose a few months ago. Monday, two men who were there when she died, were charged with drug-induced homicide.

That's not exactly the same situation here. Jay Miller, 22, and Albert Church, 23, face felony controlled substance charges. Investigators say their involvement in last week's death of Jessica James may not have been as direct as the Coles County case, but they're still responsible.

Even though the final autopsy isn't complete, experts say heroin may have played a part in her death. Effingham County's State's Attorney Bryan Kibler says Church was with James the day she died and admitted helping her get the drug. Investigators say Church had also been in touch with Miller that day. They found Miller had heroin as well.

More charges could be filed against the pair as the investigation continues. The State's Attorney says this is the third heroin overdose they've seen in the past year, but it's the first time charges have been filed in connection with a death in Effingham County.

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