2 face 2nd-degree murder charges for JC overdose death
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WASHINGTON COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL) — Two people face second-degree murder charges related to a September 2022 drug overdose that resulted in a 34-year-old Johnson City man’s death.

Court documents obtained by News Channel 11 state that Brittany Lauren Fitzgerald and Robert Lee Qualls allegedly “unlawfully [killed]” Timothy Kuykendall on Sept. 8, 2022 by the distribution or delivery of fentanyl.

In Washington County, Tennessee Criminal Court, Fitzgerald and Qualls both face second-degree murder charges and possession of a scheduled II controlled substance with intent to sell or deliver: fentanyl (15 grams or more).

Their alleged crimes occurred during a time span when the Johnson City area suffered a spate of overdose deaths. Another man, Zachary Bobadilla, was indicted on second-degree murder charges related to a Sept. 9, 2022 overdose in Johnson City. He faces a February 2024 jury trial.

Timothy “Eli” Kuykendall Courtesy of Bethany Delaney

Timothy “Eli” Kuykendall was just a “normal, nerdy dude,” his sister, Bethany Delaney told News Channel 11.

“He loved to play video games; he was a father. He was funny. He was incredibly smart,” Delaney said. “He had three children, they’re doing as well as can be expected, [his] son just graduated from high school.”

On Sept. 8, Kuykendall died due to an apparent fentanyl overdose.

“He wasn’t a drug addict,” Delaney said. “I need everybody to know that. This was a recreational thing and a bad decision, and it cost him his life.

On Sept. 11, a warrant with a $150,000 bond was issued for Fitzgerald’s arrest on the second-degree murder and possession charges.

Fitzgerald was arrested on Sept. 20, but not before also drawing charges of escape and evading arrest.

According to an affidavit, Fitzgerald was being held in an interview room at the Johnson City Police Department due to her active second-degree arrest warrant. She allegedly escaped police custody and was later seen in the South Roan Street area.

JCPD officers report that Fitzgerald ignored commands to stop running and was eventually cornered by authorities where she was arrested in the vicinity of Charleston Square Apartments.

“I’m glad she’s in jail and that justice might be served in some way,” Delaney said.

Fitzgerald has a Sept. 28 court hearing on the escape and evading charges. No court date has been set for Fitzgerald or Qualls related to the fentanyl possession or murder charges.

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