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Alleged Minn. heroin dealer charged with murder in fatal overdose

John Ray Williams, 33, of Woodbury Courtesy of the Ramsey County Sheriff's Office

WOODBURY, Minn.—Hours after a Woodbury man dropped off heroin to a woman last March in New Brighton, her boyfriend called the dealer to say something was wrong, authorities say.

The man told John Jay Williams that his girlfriend, Nicole Marie Ritchie, stopped breathing sometime after the couple ingested the drugs Williams delivered, and he asked what to do, according to legal documents.

Williams instructed him to pour milk into her mouth, court records say, and that appeared to work. But hours later, after the couple had gone to bed, Ritchie's boyfriend woke up to find her again not breathing.

Despite paramedics attempts at resuscitation, the 27-year-old woman died from a fatal drug overdose, legal documents say. A mix of opiates, fentanyl and other drugs were found in her system.

Williams, 33, was charged Tuesday with third-degree murder in her death, according to the criminal complaint filed in Ramsey County District Court.

Investigators linked him to the case using Ritchie's cellphone records and information from her boyfriend.

In addition to telling police that Williams sold them the heroin, the man worked with investigators to record conversations he had with Williams after the overdose, the complaint said.

In those interactions, Williams agreed to sell the man more heroin and also expressed concern over Ritchie's condition.

"I'm just concerned about her, bro," Williams said to her boyfriend, according to the criminal complaint.

At the time, Williams didn't know Ritchie had died, legal documents say.

When her boyfriend asked whether Williams could get him the same drugs that he provided the night of the overdose, Williams apparently severed ties with him, telling him to quit calling him and changing his cellphone number, the complaint said.

When initially interviewed about the case, Williams reportedly denied knowing Ritchie and later said he had contacted an attorney.

Williams' criminal history includes past convictions for being a prohibited person in possession of a firearm, domestic assault, fifth-degree drug possession and disorderly conduct.

No attorney was listed for him in court records and he could not be immediately reached for comment.

Ritchie's father declined to comment about her death or the criminal charges filed Tuesday.

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