Phone, email records part of drug-related homicide investigation

Becky Campbell • Mar 11, 2018 at 4:54 PM

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation obtained search warrants for two phone numbers and an email account before charging two Johnson City women with reckless homicide in another person’s death from a fentanyl overdose.

The warrants were served on Sprint, Metro PCS and Google, according to the documents filed in Washington County Circuit Court. The warrants become public information once they are served and filed as such. The information requested in the warrants, however, is not filed for public access.

In the warrants, TBI obtained information for a phone and e-mail account of the victim, Matthew Buckingham, and a phone of Tasha Williams, one of the women charged in his death.

Williams, 43, and Darlicia Yvette Jordan, 32, were arrested March 2 after a Washington County grand jury returned indictments charging them in Buckingham’s death. Each was charged with one count of reckless homicide, one count of sale of a schedule I controlled substance in a drug-free school zone and one count of delivery of a schedule I controlled substance in a drug-free school zone. Williams also was charged with maintaining a dwelling where narcotics are sold.

Buckingham, 30, died Nov. 29, four days after he apparently injected heroin that investigators and prosecutors believe he obtained from Williams and Jordan.

According to the warrants, TBI Special Agent Adam Shipley said Buckingham’s girlfriend told investigators she and Buckingham went to Walmart around 10 a.m. Nov. 25, and while they were there Buckingham had a phone call with a woman known to the girlfriend as “Tasha.”

The girlfriend, Kimberly McNees, told police it was Tasha — later identified as Williams — who sold the “dope” to Buckingham later that day. In the warrant, the agent indicated that “dope” referred to heroin.

McNees told investigators Buckingham left their condo around 2 p.m. for about an hour and called to say he was stopping to pick up cat food. When Buckingham returned, he handed McNees his cell phone and told her to answer it if it rang, then he walked into the bathroom. A short time later he walked out of the bathroom and began to speak with slurred speech. McNees told officers she thought Buckingham may have had a stroke.

She tried to wake him up, then called 911 when she couldn’t. McNees told officers she saw a syringe under Buckingham’s body. Paramedics from the Washington County/Johnson City EMS arrived and transported Buckingham to the hospital were he died four days later.

McNees told officers she and Buckingham had known Williams for several years and at times had purchased pills from her.

Investigators instructed McNees to call Williams to tell her about Buckingham’s death. In that conversation, parts of which were detailed in the search warrants, Williams asked McNees if she erased “all that stuff,” from Buckingham’s phone. The women talked about what could have caused Buckingham’s death and McNees said it happened after he got the drugs from Williams or her friend. She also indicated to Williams that investigators suspected the drug had fentanyl and warned Williams to be careful.

Shipley noted in the warrant that he did an in-depth analysis of Buckingham’s phone and found that on the day of his overdose, there were 11 calls between him and Williams’ phone.

“The telephone call that occurred at 11:36 a.m. is believed to be the telephone call that McNees referenced that occurred at Walmart while she and Buckingham were shopping that morning. The telephone call that occurred at 2:29 p.m. is believe to be a call placed by Buckingham to obtain narcotics that may have caused his overdose,” Shipley stated.

That call was made 30 to 45 minutes prior to the 911 call McNees made after Buckingham collapsed.

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