COA to hear appeal of murder charge against man who injected drugs into wife

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A man accused of murdering his wife when he injected her with strong opioids will make his case before the Indiana Court of Appeals next week, when he’ll argue that the trial court erred in considering his act to be drug dealing.

After purchasing what he claimed to think was heroin, Nathaniel Walmsley later learned that he had instead injected himself and his wife, Rachel, with fentanyl, a stronger, deadly opioid. Rachel ultimately overdosed and died later that day.

Walmsley was charged with felony murder, with the state alleging his act of injecting Rachel constituted dealing in a narcotic drug. Walmsley unsuccessfully filed a motion to dismiss the charge, arguing that injecting Rachel with drugs that they jointly purchased and possessed did not amount to dealing.

In an interlocutory appeal, Walmsley contends the Ripley Circuit Court erred in denying his motion to dismiss. He argues the facts of the case do not support that he had dealt drugs to his wife, and that the Indiana Legislature did not intend for the state’s felony murder statute to apply to adult overdose deaths.

Chief Judge Nancy Vaidik and Judges James Kirsch and Robert Altice are scheduled to hear the argument at 1:30 p.m. Aug. 6 in the Indiana Court of Appeals courtroom.

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