NEW HANOVER COUNTY — Two Wilmington men face murder charges in connection with the fatal heroin overdose of 24-year-old Alexandra Hammitt earlier this month.
Daniel Lees Masciotti, 33, and Jonathan Alan Foster, 28, each face a second-degree murder charge in the case, according to a joint announcement Thursday from New Hanover County Sheriff Ed McMahon and District Attorney Ben David.
“Approximately two weeks ago, Alexandria Hammitt, a member of our community, died from an overdose of heroin. Today, we have charged both her boyfriend and the supplier with second-degree murder,” McMahon said. “We have got to do something about this madness … this heroin epidemic in our community.”
Hammitt died while being treated at New Hanover Regional Medical Center’s emergency facility in the Scotts Hill area, David said. According to the arrest warrants, both Masciotti – Hammitt’s boyfriend – and Foster are charged with her death, which occurred sometime between Nov. 1-2. Authorities indicated one of the suspects took Hammitt to the hospital, though they weren’t specific on which one.
This is the second fatal heroin overdose case to have a defendant charged with second-degree murder in the last 17 years in New Hanover County. In September, 25-year-old Aquan De’Shae Richardson was charged with second-degree murder in the fatal overdose of 28-year-old Joshua Adams McBride, who died in May.
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“We have yet another case that we can get full justice on. And that is why I have recommended these charges,” said David, who was joined Thursday by Assistant District Attorney Timothy Severo.
“Anyone who thinks that drugs are a victimless crime, has not met the Hammitt family and so many others that we meet day-in and day-out with our jobs,” David said.
David said not all overdose cases are eligible for the type of charge Masciotti and Foster face. But the district attorney said he and his fellow prosecutors will continue to be “very selective” and make sure the facts of the case warrant a second-degree murder charge in future cases.
“The law does provide the sellers, distributors, [and] suppliers, in the appropriate circumstance can be held fully accountable for the crime of violence that drug dealing and drug supplying is,” David said. “And where appropriate we are going to hold people to the maximum extent that the law allows.”
Prior to the murder charges brought forth by authorities on Thursday, both Masciotti, of Montego Court in Wilmington, and Foster, of Bayshore Drive in Wilmington, were faced with several related heroin charges in the case. The two suspects were booked under $1.5 million secured bonds.
Masciotti and Foster were charged with selling and delivering heroin, possession with intent to manufacture, sell and deliver heroin and conspiracy to sell or deliver heroin. With the addition of the second-degree murder charge, their bonds have been increased to $2.25 million secured. They remain at the New Hanover County jail.
According to the North Carolina Department of Corrections, Foster was previously convicted of 19 felonies, including forgery, larceny, breaking and entering, obtaining property by false pretenses, and possession of a schedule I controlled substance.
Masciotti and Foster are scheduled to face the second-degree murder charges in New Hanover County District Court on Friday afternoon.