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DeKalb man accused of selling fentanyl-laced heroin facing murder charges following deadly overdoses

It is an extremely rare type of court case in Georgia. An accused drug dealer charged with murder following deadly overdoses.

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — A DeKalb County man is facing a murder charge after police say he sold a batch of fentanyl-laced heroin that killed two people nearly a year ago. 

Aaron Lewis is currently being held in the Gwinnett County jail after being arrested recently on felony murder charges. 

Lewis' arrest followed a Gwinnett County grand jury indicting him on the murder charges earlier this year.

In its indictment, the grand jury accused Lewis of selling heroin in early 2020 containing fentanyl in DeKalb County to two individuals.

Those individuals though later overdosed and died in Gwinnett County according to the indictment. 

In an attempt to have the case tossed out of court though, Lewis' defense attorney David Whitman filed demurrers or formal objections to the case. 

Whitman writes Gwinnett County "lacks jurisdiction" over the alleged crime and defendant, presumably because the sale of drugs would have occurred in DeKalb County. 

RELATED: Small Georgia community, inundated with deadly laced drugs, reports several victims on Friday

Whitman also claims the indictment fails to show a clear violation of Georgia law. 

"How do you show intent? Did he know this fentanyl was likely to kill or might kill?" said defense attorney Darryl Cohen. "A jury will very likely convict this guy if it doesn't like him. But as far as the law is concerned, how do you show intent?"

Cohen isn't involved with the case but is a former prosecutor turned defense attorney. 

According to Cohen, if the case against Lewis goes to trial prosecutors will have a hard time showing the defendant meant to kill the victims or the specific drugs he allegedly sold killed them. 

"I would also say quite frankly our victim was a willing victim," Cohen said. Most of the time when someone is killed and murder charges are brought and someone is indicted, the victim isn't willing."

Cohen said it appears the victims willingly bought and used drugs leading to their deaths. 

RELATED: Fentanyl-laced drugs kill one, injure several others in south Georgia town

If the victims have a history of drug use or purchased drugs from other sources, he would expect Lewis' attorney to let the jury know. 

"Anything I can find to make the jury believe that there wasn't murder, that the guy died because he ingested drugs but we don't know from where. Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera."

The case against Lewis comes with little precedent in Georgia.

In 2019 DeKalb County prosecutors arrested and charged 28-year-old Antoin Thornton with murder. 

Prosecutors accused Thornton of selling a 22-year-old man heroin laced with fentanyl and then the young man then overdosed and died in their Dunwoody apartment. 

Court records show Thornton's legal case is still open and he is awaiting trial. 

Lewis is being held in the Gwinnett County jail without bond. 

Court proceedings to hear any arguments on the objection filed by Lewis' attorney haven't been scheduled.