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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Tennessee

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, February 23, 2018

West Tennessee Man is Sentenced to 25 Years for Distributing Heroin Resulting in Fatal Overdose

Memphis, TN – A West Tennessee man has been sentenced to 300 months in federal prison for distributing heroin resulting in a fatal overdose. D. Michael Dunavant, United States Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee, announced the sentence today.

According to information presented in court, on February 16, 2018 Marvin "Pookie" Foster, 51, was sentenced to 25 years for distributing heroin, which resulted in the death of Cody Tetleton. Tetleton had a substance abuse history, but, like other similar victims, had completed two rehabilitation programs, being released from treatment approximately two weeks prior to his death.

United States Attorney D. Michael Dunavant said: "Our state and our district are suffering from the heroin and opioid epidemic, causing increases in drug trafficking, violence, addiction, and overdose deaths that are tearing our communities apart. The U.S. Attorney’s Office has developed a district-specific strategy to prioritize cases involving heroin distribution causing overdose deaths, and this case demonstrates the significant penalty that we will use to hold offenders accountable."

According to phone records, on July 1, 2014, Tetleton contacted Marvin Foster for the purpose of purchasing heroin. Tetleton drove to Foster’s residence in Halls, Tennessee to make the purchase. Foster sold the victim heroin and some hydrocodone pills. The victim used the heroin while seated in his vehicle in Foster’s driveway. Witnesses gave statements that Foster called them regarding the victim having overdose symptoms while still at his house. Some of those witnesses advised Foster to call 911 and to get the victim medical treatment.

Instead, Foster drove Tetleton’s truck to a remote area and left the victim in his truck with no medical assistance. On July 2, 2014, a farmer found the victim in the back seat of his own truck. A medical examiner revealed the cause of death as heroin toxicity. Furthermore, the victim’s blood was analyzed by a forensic toxicology lab and the blood showed a lethal amount of heroin was present in the blood.

Kristie Ward Thompson was indicted on October 2, 2017, in Lauderdale County, Tennessee, for facilitation of second-degree murder arising from this same incident.

Eddie Tetleton, Cody’s father, prepared a statement from the family, which the AUSA read into the record on their behalf. The following is an excerpt from that statement: "If you watch the national news, read the local papers and certainly look at social media, you will see families across the country, whose stories (their testimonies) are hauntingly similar to ours. The question that haunts families across the country is, HOW COULD THIS HAPPEN. The sentencing today will not answer a question that we have awaken us every night. But I feel most families realize we will not know this answer in this life. Our son paid the ultimate price for the demons that crept into his life. Our family too was sentenced on the tragic day of his death to life, by losing a very special young man. We do feel that Marvin Foster should also be sentenced for the part he played in the death of our son. And just maybe if it is just one at a time, the Justice System can remove those that prey on our SONS and DAUGHTERS for MONEY!!! And maybe no other family will wake during the night searching for answers that are not there….because this man contributed to their BROKEN WORLD!"

On February 20, 2018, U.S. District Judge John T. Fowlkes Jr., sentenced Foster to serve 300 months imprisonment followed by 3 years supervised release.

This case was investigated by the 25th Judicial Drug Task Force and Drug Enforcement Administration.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Beth C. Boswell prosecuted this case on the government’s behalf.

Updated February 23, 2018