Pamlico County drug overdose death brings murder charge

Benjamin Franklin Steele Jr. (Wake County Sheriff's Office photo)

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - The drug overdose death of a North Carolina man last year has brought a murder charge.

The News & Observer of Raleigh reported that 27-year-old Benjamin Franklin Steele Jr. of Durham has been charged with murder in the June 23 death of 19-year-old Bryan Spain.

Steele was indicted on a murder charge last month, along with charges of selling deadly drugs.

Investigators say Spain had stopped at a friend's house in Raleigh last summer while traveling from Appalachian State University to his home in Pamlico County. Spain was found dead on a couch the next morning.

Spain's death was originally listed as an accidental overdose of fentanyl, an opioid.

Steele was in jail on a robbery conviction. It was not known if he has an attorney for the new charges.

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