24 year old John Edgar of Pearl is behind bars Monday night, charged in the death of a Milton woman.
47 year old Shanda Lopez was found dead in her home September 26th after overdosing on heroin. Investigators say Edgar was a drug dealer and is partly to blame for her death. Edgar had his first appearance in court today.
The investigation took longer than a month, but the Pike County Sheriff's Office is holding John Edgar responsible for Shanda Lopez's death.
"It's pretty tough because I can see her coming outside everyday out of the front door. She used to bring my niece over and help her and then she would come over at night when it was all done and says say your prayers," said Donald Felion.
It's not easy for Felion to know his neighbor right across the street, Shanda Lopez, died because of a heroin overdose in this room.
He said he had no idea Lopez ever used drugs.
"I found out this morning after a report and I was very shocked about that."
John Edgar, the man prosecutors said sold Lopez heroin he got in St. Louis, appeared in court Monday.
Pike County Deputy Sheriff John Pennock said Edgar is now being charged with a drug induced homicide, a class x felony, punishable by 6 to 30 years in prison.
"The statute in Illinois states any person who unlawfully delivers a control substance to a person, and that person could die from that substance that was taken can be charged with Drug Induced homicide in the state of Illinois," Pennock said.
And Pennock said the drug is becoming more popular in Pike County because of how close it is to St. Louis.
"I know heroin is a big issue down there and I know it's probably coming up the river. It's not a common drug used in Pike County. It's a drug that's becoming more and more vibrant in our county so to speak. I mean we've had three or four arrests in the past few months with heroin related incidents," Pennock said.
Felion said his heart goes out to both the Edgar and Lopez families, but the community needs to start stepping up when it comes to fighting the local drug problem.
"And I said you know as a community, we should start sticking together and when we see people coming into these little towns, we gotta say hey that's enough. You guys are out of here," he said.
Edgar's preliminary hearing is set for November 13th. In his first appearance he chose to have a public defender represent him. His bail sits at $200,000.
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