For Immediate Release: May 8, 2012
Sen. Susan Paddack
Bill expanding first-degree murder charges in designer drug deaths
Legislation aimed at closing legal loopholes in
deaths resulting from designer drugs has been signed into law.
Senate Bill 987, by Senator Susan
Paddack and Rep Tom Newell, expands the definition of murder
in the first degree to include deaths resulting from the manufacture
or distribution of a synthetic, or “designer drug”
as well as the manufacturing of drugs that result in a death,
as in a meth lab explosion. Gov. Mary Fallin signed the bill into
law on Tuesday.
Paddack said she filed the legislation after East Central University
students Stacey Jewell and Andrew Ackerman died last year after
using “2-Bromo Dragonfly,” a designer drug still available
on the Internet that can cause hallucinations, vomiting, seizures
and rapid heartbeat. Prosecutors said because of how the current
law was written, the individual responsible could not be charged
with first degree murder.
“Designer drugs can be just as lethal as heroin or cocaine,
but because our statutes did not specifically address them, prosecutors
had their hands tied when seeking justice,” said Paddack,
D-Ada. “With this new law, deaths resulting from the sale
or manufacture of these new drugs can be prosecuted as first degree
The legislation also expands the first degree murder definition
to include deaths from the manufacturing of drugs, such as meth
“This new law will allow prosecutors to go after the dealers
and manufacturers of synthetic drugs and meth cooks when their
product or manufacturing process leads to someone’s death,”
said Newell, R-Seminole. “This legislation was long overdue
and had this sort of a law been in place, we may have seen fewer
deaths caused by synthetic drugs in Oklahoma communities last
The new law becomes effective November 1, 2012.