Onslow County man charged in drug overdose death pleads guilty

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Jarred Eddington pleaded guilty on Tuesday to second degree murder as well as distributing heroin. (Photo: Onslow Co. Sheriff's Office)

SNEADS FERRY, NC (WNCT) — An Onslow County man accused of supplying drugs that led to the overdose death of a Sneads Ferry man has pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree murder and one count of selling heroin.

Tears flowed freely on both sides of the Onslow County courtroom during Tuesday’s ruling for what the judge described as a “tragedy for all involved”.

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In April 2016, 21-year-old Jason “Wes” Sapp IV was found dead in his home from a lethal dose of fentanyl provided by his friend, 23-year- old Jarred Eddington.

Eddington pleaded guilty on Tuesday to second degree murder as well as distributing heroin.

He offered an apology in court and promised to turn his life around.



But for the Sapps, nothing can bring back Wes, a star athlete and graduate of Dixon High School, who was planning to join the Armed Forces.

“Our son paid with his life,” Jason Sapp III, Wes’s father, said. “For Mr. Eddington, it’s only 96 months and I personally would give anything to visit my son.”

Vanessa Sapp, his mother, said in court that there are no words for the loss of her only son.

“He was fun and funny,” she said. “That was Wes. He was just good.”

It is the first second degree murder sentence for a drug dealer in the district, and D.A. Ernie Lee says it’s sending a message.

“It affects so many lives, not only the victim’s family in this case but also the defendant’s family and I just hope the message goes out,” Lee said. “First of all don’t use this stuff and certainly don’t sell or distribute it.”

Also in the courtroom was Sheriff Hans Miller who’s been working actively with Sneads Ferry H.O.P.E., an organization started by Vanessa Sapp and her friend Cindy Patane after both of their sons died from overdoses.

“It’s a task force of citizens, the faith community, and law enforcement because all citizens need to work together and to help each other because no one can do it by him or herself.”

Eddington was sentenced to 7 to 10 years in prison, but he will receive credit for more than 18 months served.

He will also have to pay $25,000 restitution.

PREVIOUS STORY (8/7/2016):

An Onslow County man accused of supplying drugs that led to the overdose death of a Sneads Ferry man was in court Monday.

21-year-old Jarred Eddington is charged with second-degree murder in the death of 21-year-old Jason Sapp.

Sapp, who went by “Wes,” died in his sleep of asphyxiation on April 7. The autopsy report showed he had oxycodone, codeine, Xanax, and fentanyl is his system at time of death.

Eddington is accused of distributing those drugs to him.

Monday was the first time Sapp’s family has seen Eddington. And it was an emotional day for Sapp’s mother, Vanessa, as Eddington stood in front of a judge for his hearing.

Sapp said her son was told he was being given heroin, “As a mom, I feel it puts the families in a difficult situation. Nobody wins. Nobody wins in this situation. Our families have both lost our sons and Jarred’s family now has to deal with this situation. It’s a no-win situation.”

Vanessa Sapp and Cindy Patane, the mother of another man who died the day before from a drug overdose, started Sneads Ferry Hope, an organization to help others battling with drug addiction. They hope to spare other mothers the pain of losing their children to drug addictions by speaking out.

Eddington is being held on $1.5 million bond. His next court appearance will be Aug 29.