Former Craven County resident facing drug, murder charges


NEW BERN, N.C. (WNCT) A former Craven County resident is facing drug and murder charges, District Attorney said.

District Attorney Scott Thomas and Sheriff Chip Hughes announced that a Craven County Grand Jury indicted James Patrick Bradley, 42, of Asheville, with one count of sale or delivery of a schedule II controlled substance, and one count of second-degree murder caused by a controlled substance.

The indictments allege that in August, 2017, Bradley, who lived in Craven County at the time, sold a controlled substance – fentanyl — to 29-year-old Matthew Doxey, which proximately led to his death.

The North Carolina General Assembly, several years ago, expanded the second-degree murder statute to include punishment for unlawful drug distribution of opiates or opioids and their related derivative, synthetic opiates or opioids, methamphetamine, or depressants which leads to the death of the user.

Second-degree murder, under those circumstances, is a B2-level felony, with a maximum possible punishment of more than 40 years in prison.

Both an autopsy and toxicology testing were used to determine the type of drug, as well as the cause of death of Doxey.

Assistant District Attorney Karen Hobbs worked with Craven County Sheriff’s Office Sergeant Brian Peluso to determine the appropriate charges, and to present the case to the Grand Jury.

Bradley was arrested and brought from Buncombe County to Craven County to be served with the indictments and for a first appearance before a judge.

He appeared before Judge Peter Mack, who advised Bradley of the charges against him, as well as the maximum punishments.

The judge placed Bradley in custody under a $1 million bond.

District Attorney Scott Thomas said, “I would like to thank Sgt. Peluso and ADA Karen Hobbs for their diligence and persistence in this investigation. They have worked for several months to develop the evidence needed to secure these indictments. Our goal is to hold individuals responsible for their conduct and the consequences of their conduct. When we have sufficient evidence to indict in drug overdose death cases, we do so.”

Sheriff Chip Hughes added, “Working closely with District Attorney Scott
Thomas, our office will investigate every overdose death as a homicide investigation, and if the evidence shows that those who continue to distribute this poison in our communities can be charged with murder, or death by distribution, they will be.”

Bradley’s next court date in Craven County Superior Court is during the administrative court week of November 1.

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