(BEDFORD) - Two years after her son's death, Nadine Terry has filed a wrongful death lawsuit in Lawrence Superior Court against those she believes killed her son, 43-year-old William "Tiger" Napier.
Napier died April 11, 2010. According to court documents, police say they were called to a home in the 900 block of West Brook Street in Mitchell. There emergency responders found Napier barely alive in the, a home rented by Dayna Sorrells. He was transported to the hospital and died on arrival.
The suit names the defendants: William and Joan Terrell of Mitchell, who rented the home to Sorrells; Dustin Moore, Dayna Sorrells and Kristy Byers.
The suit alleges Moore, Sorrells and Byers "engaged in intentional acts to administer an intravenous dose of heroin into the body of William Alan Napier causing his death." It seeks judgment on three counts: Wrongful death, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligent infliction of emotional distress. It seeks a "sufficient" amount of quantifiable damages, as well as punitive damages. No trial date has been set for the suit.
Lawrence County Coroner John Sherrill said he listed the cause of Napier's death as a heroin overdose. The death report states Napier had a "mild alcohol intoxication" at .11 percent and he tested positive for "therapeutic levels" of Xanax, a prescription drug used to treat anxiety, and hydrocodone, a prescription pain reliever. Sherrill said the levels of Xanax and hydrocodone were "normal, like the levels you'd see if you had a prescription for them."
Napier's body, according to Sherrill, contained two needle puncture wounds in his left arm. One was caused by emergency personnel; the other mark came back "inconclusive" for heroin.
"That means it could've contained a trace amount of heroin because it has to reach a certain level before it's conclusive," Sherrill said. "His manner of death is listed as undetermined."
After Napier was taken to the hospital, police officers spoke to Sorrells, according to court documents. She said that on the previous night, she was at Jack's Lounge with Napier, Kristy Byers, Dustin Moore and Gerald Pickett. The group left the bar and returned to Sorrells' house. There, Sorrells told police she saw brown powder (identified as heroin) on the table, and saw Moore kneeling on the floor by Napier, who was sitting in a chair. Pickett also was sitting in a chair at the same table.
Sorrells said she heard Pickett tell Napier he would give him some of the "dope." About a half-hour later, Sorrells told police she went back to Jack's Lounge with Pickett, Moore and Byers, leaving Napier on a cot in the house "snoring and described it as he was trying to catch his breath."
She told police that upon returning from the bar, she thought Napier "was the wrong color" and she called 911. Sorrells said she didn't see anyone give Napier heroin, but Byers said she witnessed Pickett put heroin powder on a spoon, then Moore shot Napier with a needle of heroin.
According to the probable cause affidavit, "Kristy said she did not watch the injection take place, but saw Dustin with the syringe."
Byers then said Napier nodded off. The group checked his breathing and pulse, determining it was "fine," then left for the bar.
In the same document, Moore admitted that Pickett loaded the syringe with the "dope." He told Pickett not to give Napier much, to which Pickett replied, "If he's going to do it, do it right." Moore then gave Napier the shot of heroin.
Pickett told police he didn't know what happened to Napier. He said when he left Sorrells' house, Napier was alive and sitting at the table drinking Smirnoff. When he returned, Napier was dead.
Pickett and Moore were later charged with dealing in a Schedule I narcotic in relation to Napier's death. Both were arrested on July 1, 2010. Neither Byers nor Sorrells were charged. Pickett died July 24, 2011, without ever going to trial on that charge.
Still living in Mitchell, Moore, listed in court documents as being represented by Lorinda Youngcourt of the Lawrence County Public Defender's office, is set to go to trial on Oct. 23. If convicted of the Class B felony, Moore faces six to 20 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.
Lawrence County Prosecutor Michelle Woodward said professional rules of conduct prevented her from commenting on a pending case.
In the wrongful death suit, Terry is being represented by Jeffrey K. Branstetter of Blanton & Branstetter, a law firm with offices in Paoli and Jeffersonville.
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