LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. (CBS46) — In a first-of-its-kind conviction in Gwinnett County and possibly all of Georgia, a drug dealer pleaded guilty to murder after someone he sold drugs to died from an overdose.
Eric Moore pleaded guilty to charges including trafficking and felony murder for the 2019 death of Barth Alan Moser.
“It is a very rarely engaged upon type of prosecution that hasn’t been utilized very often in the state of Georgia,” said Gwinnett County Deputy Chief District Attorney Bradon Delfunt.
Delfunt said Moore had previously pleaded guilty to other drug-related charges in the case and pleaded guilty to murder this week during jury selection for his trial. He will spend at least 20 years in prison. His attorney, Stacy Levy, told CBS46 it was a fair and just result.
Delfunt said, “This is the first case in Gwinnett County that we have prosecuted successfully to a verdict of felony murder for selling or distributing drugs.”
Gwinnett County has seven other similar cases against accused street level drug dealers pending.
Pete Skandalakis, executive director of the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia, said there are also similar cases pending in other counties but Gwinnett’s may be the first of its kind in the state.
Investigators said Moser, a 50-year-old father who struggled with addiction, bought heroin from Moore in 2019. The heroin contained fentanyl and carfentanil, powerful synthetic opiods, and Moser died shortly after taking the drug. His father found him after not being able to get in touch with him for a few days.
Text messages investigators uncovered between Moore and Moser were telling, with Moser even alerting Moore about the odd look of the drugs he sold him, describing it as green.
“Mr. Moser directly referenced the color of the heroin he had just taken and specifically told Mr. Moore he didn’t want it to make him sick,” said Delfunt.
Law enforcement from throughout Gwinnett County and the medical examiner, Dr. Carol Terry, joined prosecutors for the announcement Friday.
“Almost on a daily basis in the medical examiner’s office we are seeing people who have died due to overdoses,” said Terry. “We are seeing it mixed with methampethamine, cocaine, heroin and also arriving as pressed pills.”
She said, “If you don’t know someone who’s been affected by this, consider yourself lucky and in the minority because this is the monster on your backyard.”