Murder charge filed following Fentanyl overdose death

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BARROW COUNTY, Ga. - A Barrow County man has been charged with murder after police say he sold a cancer pain treatment drug to a friend that triggered a deadly overdose.

Gainesville police said Casey Trichel, 24, deceived a friend, Joseph Patterson when he sold him pills containing Fentanyl, a powerful opiate normally prescribed to cancer patients in chronic pain. Patterson died after overdosing on the drug Feb. 16.

It was not until last week that a toxicology report confirmed the cause of death. Experts say Fentanyl is 30 to 50 times stronger than heroin.

"Mr. Casey Trichel had in fact sold the victim the Fentanyl under a disguise that it was another prescription medication. Unfortunately, the victim did not know that it was Fentanyl that he took, and it ultimately led to his death," said Gainseville police Cpl. Kevin Holbrook.

The mother of the 23-year-old overdose victim said he was not a drug addict and would never have taken the pills had he known the potential danger.

"Joe loved life more than anyone I knew. He was excited about being a father. He'd been working in the same place and never missed a day." said mother Lisa Hicks.

Hicks said her only son was engaged to be married. His fiancé gave birth to his son April 9, the day after Joe's birthday.

"It has been a nightmare for us, dealing with someone who unexpectedly dies. The worst day of my life was having to identify my son's body," she said.

Hicks said her son was an exercise fanatic and was to enroll in a school to earn a degree as a personal trainer.

"All I have left is a box of ashes at home and my grandson, baby Joseph," Hicks said.

She said she is relieved by the arrest, but feels sympathy for the parents of the accused drug dealer.

"It looks like we both lost our sons. Only difference is that they can go and see him and put their arms around him and tell him they love him. I can never do that will my son ever again." said Hicks.

The family said they are having a difficult time covering funeral and other expenses related to Patterson's death.

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