Aggravated assault and reckless endangerment charges filed against an Oak Ridge woman after a heroin overdose in February were waived to the Anderson County Grand Jury on Tuesday.
Heather Marie Rau, 29, had a status hearing in Anderson County General Sessions Court in Oak Ridge on Tuesday afternoon.
She is accused of providing heroin to a man who ended up unconscious on a hallway floor in a home on West Outer Drive at about 3 p.m. February 16. Rau told Oak Ridge Police Department Detective John R. Criswell that she warned the man, Wesley “Bud” Arnold, not to “shoot it,” or inject the heroin, because she knew what she had given him could possibly kill him, according to arrest warrants filed in Anderson County General Sessions Court in Oak Ridge.
Warrants said the heroin had already killed one man and caused Rau to overdose.
Besides aggravated assault and reckless endangerment, a charge of possession of a controlled substance for sale was also waived to the grand jury on Tuesday.
Waiving charges to the grand jury means there will be no preliminary hearing in General Sessions Court. During a preliminary hearing, a judge can hear from victims, witnesses, and investigators, and determine whether there is probable cause to send the case, or “bind it over,” to a grand jury.
In general, there is no specific timeline for when the grand jury might consider whether to indict someone on charges waived or bound over from General Sessions Court. But if someone is indicted, the case is moved from General Sessions Court to Anderson County Circuit and Criminal Court in Clinton.
It’s not clear how Arnold ingested the heroin allegedly provided by Rau in February, but he was unconscious on a hallway floor with a very weak pulse and unable to breathe on his own when Criswell responded to the overdose call, according to arrest warrants.
Emergency medical workers were able to revive Arnold by giving him a dose of Narcan, which is used to help people who overdose on opioid-based narcotics.
Rau and Willie Williams had ingested the same heroin at 622 West Outer Drive on February 12, and she overdosed while Williams died, the warrants said.
“Rau provided the same heroin to Arnold, which caused his overdose, and admitted to knowing that it could possibly kill him,” Criswell wrote in the warrants. Two witnesses confirmed Rau’s statement, Criswell said.
Rau admitted, after being advised of her Miranda rights, that she contacted Arnold and arranged to meet him at 622 West Outer Drive to exchange crystal methamphetamine and a cell phone for the heroin that she had, Criswell said.
“‘Bud’ asked to come over to the house after I told him I had some heroin for sale,” Rau said in a written statement, according to Criswell.
Rau explained that her deal with Arnold was to trade heroin for “ice” and a used phone that Arnold would bring back later, Criswell said.
After he overdosed and was treated with Narcan, Arnold was taken to an emergency room, where he was treated for the overdose and released, the warrants said.
While officers waited for a search warrant, Rau asked to use the restroom, Criswell said. But police were afraid she might try to dispose of evidence. Asked if she possessed any illegal items, Rau admitted to having more narcotics in her pocket, Criswell said.
Among the items she removed, according to the warrants, were a piece of plastic containing what Criswell recognized as marijuana, a small sealed baggie with a crystal substance of suspected methamphetamine inside, and three small silver-colored bundles with an unknown substance inside.
A small digital scale was found during a search of the residence, Criswell said.
Also Tuesday, Rau pleaded guilty to a probation violation charge. She was ordered to serve five months in the Anderson County Detention Facility in Clinton, and she must serve at least 75 percent of the underlying sentence. She will receive credit for 40 days served, and she is not eligible for probation, according to Anderson County court records.
More information will be added as it becomes available.