Suspected drug dealer charged with homicide after man fatally overdoses

Police used victim's cellphone to set up heroin purchase, report says

By Adrienne Cutway - Web Editor

ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, Fla. - A suspected drug dealer accused of selling fentanyl-laced heroin to a man who fatally overdosed is facing a homicide charge, according to officials with the Altamonte Springs Police Department.

Tyron Bradshaw, 26, was originally arrested in July in connection with the death then was re-arrested Tuesday after police said he missed his scheduled court appearance.

On July 4, officers were called to Lake Lotus Club Condos, where they said found a woman named Shaina Palama performing CPR on her boyfriend, Mark Nelson. First responders were unable to revive Nelson, and he died at an area hospital, the report said.

"It was very hard, very hard just being there, experiencing all of it, and never thought anything like that would happen in my lifetime or to someone I was really close to or anything like that," Palama said.

She and Nelson had been dating for nearly two years, but she had no idea that he was using heroin until two days before his death, when he first overdosed. She described him as a great man who loved eating tacos and watching the Patriots play.

Police said they found heroin that tested positive for fentanyl on the center console of Nelson's vehicle, along with his cellphone.

Many Americans have a friend or family member with a current or past drug addiction

"I told him right before he left to get some food that day, I told him, 'You need to stop, or you are going to end up in jail or dead.' Those were the last things I said face-to-face to him. That's even worse, that's even harder," Palama said.

Officers said they looked through the cellphone and found texts from Nelson to a suspected heroin dealer, later identified as Bradshaw, the report said.

Texts on Nelson's phone to Bradshaw indicated that the two men had set up a drug deal at a local RaceTrac gas station less than an hour before Nelson fatally overdosed, according to the affidavit.

Police said they used Nelson's phone on July 5 to text Bradshaw about setting up another drug deal at the same gas station.

"100 of the same (expletive) as last night racetrack?" the officer texted Bradshaw, according to the report.

Bradshaw replied that he would be there within five minutes, the report said. Police arrested him when he approached Nelson's car, which police had driven to the gas station, the report said.

Police said they found $6,303 in cash, paraphernalia and a digital scale in Bradshaw's car. 

Bradshaw was charged with homicide resulting from the distribution of a controlled substance, selling heroin and marijuana possession. He is being held at the Seminole County Jail without bond.

Palama said she found out Wednesday, the day that would have been Nelson's birthday, that Bradshaw would be facing a homicide charge in connection with her former boyfriend's death.

"Hes out there selling this drug that he knows is dangerous to people and that's what he's doing -- he's killing them. He is the reason why they are dying, he's supplying their death," Palama said.

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, there is help available. Call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration hotline for free, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

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