Authorities say Michael Becker, April Guthrie supplied drugs to victim

A Carteret County grand jury has indicted two people on murder charges for supplying heroin to a Newport man who died from an overdose.

Michael John Becker, 51, and April Thomas Guthrie, 33, both of 702 Courtyard West, Newport, were indicted on second-degree murder charges on Monday, according to a release from the Carteret County Sheriff’s officer. The charges relate to the overdose death of 23-year-old Kendal Walbert on Aug. 16, 2014, at 200 Lydia Drive in Newport.

Detective Sgt. James Pittman, lead detective on the case, said Walbert died after using heroin sold to him by Guthrie and Becker. Drug detectives and the State Bureau of Investigation worked the case, processing of not only drug evidence but gathering additional electronic evidence from the drug transactions, according to the release.

“Sheriff (Asa) Buck and I remain committed to fighting illegal drug activity and the deadly consequences that follow the illegal drug activity,” District Attorney Scott Thomas said in a statement. “We will continue to evaluate the evidence in each case involving the sale and distribution of illegal drugs and charge for the criminal conduct involved. It is imperative that individuals who engage in the sale of drugs understand they will be held accountable for their acts. We are trying to address the drug problem in Carteret County by focusing on education, prevention, intervention, treatment and enforcement.”

Becker and Guthrie also face one count each of unlawful distribution of a controlled substance, sell and deliver heroin, and conspiracy to sell and deliver heroin, according to the release.

“I commend the investigators and the district attorney’s office for working to bring forth a prosecutable case and hold these two drug dealers responsible for their actions which contributed to death of a young man in our county,” Buck said in a statement. “Drug dealers prey upon people with addictions so they can make money or feed their own addictions. The drug problem is one of the main factors in most of our crime and accidental death in our society, and we must continue to battle it every day. I hope this arrest and prosecution sends a message that where the evidence is available drug dealers will be held accountable for their actions when their poison causes someone’s death.”

Guthrie is currently serving a six-year prison sentence for the sale and deliver of narcotics at the state women’s prison in Raleigh. Her first appearance in court on the new charges is scheduled for Monday.

Becker was arrested on Monday and placed in the Carteret County Jail on a $225,000 secured bond.