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Murder charges leveled after overdose deaths

Two local residents face second-degree murder charges after they were indicted Friday by the Warren County grand jury.

Taylor Danielle Hendren, 22, and Ronald Eugene Welden Jr., 33, both of McMinnville, were indicted on charges of second-degree murder, reckless homicide, and delivery of heroin. 

They were picked up and booked at Warren County Jail on Friday.

Prosecutors say they provided heroin to two people who overdosed and died, a 26-year-old female and a 42-year-old male. 

The two victims were found unresponsive and not breathing at a home on Wood Road on May 26, 2020. They were later pronounced dead after being transported to Saint Thomas River Park Hospital.

Aaron Roberts with the Warren County Sheriff’s Department was the primary investigator in the case.

"During the course of the investigation, it was determined that Welden and Hendren provided the drugs that led to the overdoses," said Sheriff's Department Major Jason Walker. 

Tennessee law allows the charge of second-degree murder to be leveled if a person provides drugs which lead to the death of another. 

“Serious actions can have serious consequences,” said District Attorney General Lisa Zavogiannis. “Overdose deaths are becoming a problem in our community and we aim to prosecute those responsible to the fullest extent of the law.”

Through the course of the investigation, law enforcement officials say they can tie Hendren and Welden to the heroin which killed the two victims. Zavogiannis said the heroin was laced with fentanyl, a power drug which the CDC says is responsible for more than 80,000 overdose deaths during a 12-month period which ended in May 2020.

“Just this week I’ve talked to Warren County High School juniors and seniors about the dangers of fentanyl,” said Zavogiannis.

Bond was set at $75,000 for both Welden and Hendren. Their first court appearance is scheduled for April 21.