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Three charged with murder in Columbia drug overdose death


Prosecutors have charged three people with murder and another with drug distribution in connection with a December 2021 fentanyl overdose death, according to court records.

Jonathan G. Shelley, Nicholas Grathwohl and Jeanne M. Hovis, all of Columbia, were charged this week with second-degree murder and drug distribution for the Dec. 26, 2021 death of a person whose name is redacted in court documents.

The address of the residence where the person who overdosed was found is also redacted but a search warrant identified the residence as a duplex on Westwind Drive in northwest Columbia.

A probable cause statement says Shelley was with the overdose victim, whom police found lying unresponsive in a bathtub. Another statement says Hovis arranged the purchase of crack cocaine and fentanyl, which was delivered by Grathwohl, the night of the overdose.

In the statement, Hovis told officers that she had done the drugs with the victim, and fell asleep. When she woke up the victim was in bed with her unresponsive.

That is when she and Shelly tried to move the victim to the bathtub in an attempt to wake him up. A search warrant affidavit says Hovis and Shelley waited 90 minutes before calling 911.

An autopsy determined the victim died from "lethal fentanyl intoxication," according to court documents.

A fourth person, Nathaniel A. Cross, also of Columbia, is charged with drug distribution only.

Shelley's bond was set at $200,000 cash-only, while Grathwohl and Hovis have $250,000 cash bonds. Cross's bond was set at $150,000.

None of them were in the Boone County Jail on Friday afternoon.

Article Topic Follows: Crime

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Matthew Sanders

Matthew Sanders is the digital content director at ABC 17 News.


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