Skip to main content
Press Release

St. Louis County Man Sentenced to 22 Years in Prison for Supplying the Fentanyl that Killed 19-Year-Old

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Missouri

ST. LOUIS – U.S. District Judge Catherine D. Perry on Tuesday sentenced a man who supplied the fentanyl that killed a 19-year-old in Jefferson County, Missouri to 22 years in prison.
Judge Perry also ordered William Edward Martin, 23, to pay restitution to the victim’s family for her funeral expenses.

On June 23, 2022, Martin met the 19-year-old victim in the parking lot of a Walgreens in Arnold, Missouri. She got into the black BMW he was driving, and Martin gave her fentanyl. A short time later, he took the incapacitated teen and concealed her upside down in the backseat of her locked car. 

After the victim failed to come home, her father began searching for her. He found her dead in her car early the next morning. 

Martin would later admit that he could have called 911 or brought the victim to the hospital. In text messages, he discussed the strength of the fentanyl he was selling and the overdose danger it posed. He also continued to sell fentanyl after the victim’s death.

Arnold police spotted the BMW during the death investigation. The driver, Tanisha Payne, said she’d dropped Martin off at a gas station. Officers found a safe inside the car that contained fentanyl, hallucinogens, prescription drugs and drug paraphernalia. They caught Martin behind a supermarket with a loaded pistol. 

Martin pleaded guilty in November U.S. District Court in St. Louis to four felonies: conspiracy to distribute fentanyl, distribution of fentanyl with a resulting death, distribution of fentanyl and being a felon in possession of a firearm. He also admitted selling fentanyl to others.

"This investigation was particularly tough as nothing could be more tragic than a parent finding their child dead," said Assistant Special Agent in Charge Colin Dickey, head of Drug Enforcement Administration operations in Eastern Missouri. "Illicit fentanyl is the worst drug DEA has encountered. The damage it caused to this family cannot be repaired by sending this defendant to prison, but DEA hopes it sends a message to other fentanyl dealers that we will do everything we can to make sure they face the same penalties."

Steven “Lemon” Littler, 34, and Jacqueline Williamson, 34, admitted supplying fentanyl to Martin and Payne. Littler had been selling the drug to Martin for several months, Martin’s plea says. Littler also warned Martin of the potency of his fentanyl, calling it “deadly strong” and “dangerous.” 

When Williamson was arrested, investigators found fentanyl, methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia in her St. Louis home. Payne, now 23, also had fentanyl and drug paraphernalia when she was arrested.

Littler pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute fentanyl and distribution of fentanyl and is serving a 210-month prison sentence. Williamson, who pleaded guilty to a fentanyl distribution charge, was sentenced to 72 months. Payne, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute fentanyl, was sentenced to time served.

The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Arnold Police Department, the U.S. Marshals Service and the St. Louis County Police Department.


Robert Patrick, Public Affairs Officer,

Updated April 2, 2024

Drug Trafficking