By Brittany Whitehead
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GRAHAM COUNTY, North Carolina (WLOS) – Several months of a thorough investigation into the March 25 death of a 30-year-old man near Robbinsville has led to the arrest of a Graham County couple who are now awaiting his trial.
Bobby Huel Pastell, 28, and his wife, Danielle “Nikki” Nichole Pastell, 36, residents of Graham County, were arrested on June 30 and July 1, respectively, on “death by distribution” warrants. of man. The family of the deceased have requested that his name not be disclosed.
These are the first such arrests in Graham County, officials said.
On March 25, Graham County EMS and Graham County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to a residence outside Robbinsville in response to a 911 call from an individual who is not breathing and may have died. Upon arrival, officers discovered a 30-year-old man who had died. Officers and detectives also observed elements consistent with the use of illegal drugs.
Graham County detectives spoke to the district attorney’s office after months of investigation, awaiting final autopsy results to determine exact cause of death and SBI Crime Lab results from evidence gathered in the victim’s room.
On June 29, they presented their case to a local magistrate who found probable cause and granted their request to issue a “death by distribution” warrant for Bobby (aka “Little Bobby”) Huel Pastell, 28 years old, and his wife, Danielle (aka “Nikki”) Nichole Pastell, 36, both residents of Graham County.
On June 30, Bobby Pastell was located and arrested in Swain County. Nikki Pastell was located and arrested the next day, July 1, at her Graham County residence.
They are currently on bail of $ 150,000 each and awaiting trial.
In North Carolina, it is a crime to sell opioids, cocaine, and methamphetamine to someone who then dies while ingesting them.
A person charged under the Death by Distribution Act could face charges amounting to first-degree kidnapping or, in the case of some drug-related repeat offenders, second-degree murder.
Note: Death by distribution is a Class C felony. The maximum penalty for a Class C felony is 231 months (over 19 years) imprisonment. Aggravated death by pay-as-you-go is a class B2 felony, punishable by up to 484 months (over 40 years) in prison. Thus, the same sentence that applies to second degree murder based on the illegal distribution of opioids, cocaine or its derivatives, methamphetamine and certain depressants, applies to a conviction for death aggravated by distribution.
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