Local News

Apex man charged with murder in suspected drug overdose

Posted February 4, 2015

— An Apex man faces a second-degree murder charge after a man died Monday from a suspected heroin overdose.

William Tyler Mayhew, 23, of 1100 Purple Glory Drive, was arrested Wednesday in connection with the death of Eric William Darden, who died Monday.

According to search warrants, Darden, 23, was taken to a local hospital Sunday for a heroin overdose and released on Monday. Shortly after 7 p.m. the same day, someone called 911 reporting that Darden was unconscious at his home.

Search warrants also indicate that a man at the hospital with Darden told police Sunday that the two were doing heroin that Mayhew had sold them. Police found text messages between the two discussing an amount worth $150, according to the warrants.

During Mayhew's first court appearance Monday afternoon, prosecutors said another man is in a coma related to drugs Mayhew allegedly provided for him on Sunday.

"We have reason to believe there are potentially two victims and certainly one who is deceased as the result of the actions of Mr. Mayhew," Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman said.

A warrant to search Mayhew's home alleges that Darden told someone via text message that "the same heroin made someone else overdose the night before."

The warrant also says that police had received "several anonymous complaints" dating from early August to Jan. 1 that Mayhew allegedly had been selling heroin, prescription drugs and marijuana from the home he shares with his father and stepmother.

Darden worked at a Harris Teeter and studied at Wake Technical Community College.

His family had no comment Wednesday, but the mother of a close friend of Darden said she was stunned to learn of his death.

"I'm so mad. He's not that guy. He's not that kid. I did watch these kids grow up here in Apex.  They were not bad kids," said Jean Travers.

Mayhew was initially charged with first-degree murder, but prosecutors said during his first court appearance that they intend to pursue the second-degree murder charge.

A judge set bond at $500,000.

Mayhew's father, Bill Mayhew, said the family is very upset about what happened.

"I'm very concerned. I'm very sorry the boy died," he said. "My condolences go out to the family. I don't know the circumstances of what happened. I'm in shock."

According to court records, Mayhew was convicted April 28 of driving while impaired, hit-and-run and injury to real property in connection with a Nov. 6, 2013, wreck in which his pickup truck hit a transformer and then crashed into the living room of an Apex home.

He spent time in prison and was released in December.


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  • eam13 Feb 8, 2015

    Because of Mayhew's greed, he left heavy hearts.
    The only thing on his mind was money. Not once did he think about putting a brother, grandson, best friend's life in danger.
    I want Mayhew to take all of our heavy hearts and put all of the weight on his until his heart can't take anymore. Day by day by day.
    People on here saying that Eric wasn't a good person because this happened...
    Do you know the difference between Eric and Mayhew.
    Eric would be there for someone in a heartbeat. He was a hard working man. He had potential and so much love to give. He cared about his family and friends so much.

    Mayhew would only do something for someone if he got something out of it. He sat at home playing video games, collecting drug money. All Mayhew cared about was getting enough drug money to buy more for himself. Mayhew uses his father for his money so he pay court fees etc.
    Prison is his new home, and that's where those kind of people belong.

  • Janet Scott Feb 7, 2015
    user avatar

    HCS...maybe it is time that we demand that the town of Apex do something. My son was a beautiful, smart, caring person as I'm sure that Eric.Eric was. Bryce would have been 22 on February 25. He probably knew Eric. Let's make sure that this doesn't happen again.

  • Steve McToots Feb 6, 2015
    user avatar

    I am sure this story will now fade just as every other sad loss is.

    Nothing ever seems to get done no matter what the tragedy. The same parents will go on about their work days and wine nights. The same kids boo hoo'ing over this will go right back to drinking, smoking pot, popping pills. The Tyler Mayhews of the world will never stop - this kid won't do any time, and will be right back to it.

    And it has nothing to do with bring prayer back into schools. If you all think that, your head is up your backsides as much as these uninvolved parents.

    There are no easier answers except that nothing can be done unless it is done together. Unless communities come together in a productive way and stop bickering, put down their phones, and start doing something, thing will only get worse.

  • officebox Feb 6, 2015

    Thank you for bringing this to light:
    Yes, he made a bad choice, but he was not a bad person.
    That's it exactly. People that believe that a bad choice defines a person need to take a long hard look at themselves and the people they admire or follow. Many people make bad choices. Unfortunately, Eric passed before he had the chance to correct the choice.

    Let's remember that everyone of us make bad choices. That doesn't negate any of the good we have done, or the people we are. One bad choice does not define who we were or what we meant to people. We are each more than what a news station reports about us.

    Please put down the pitchforks folks. Let this family mourn and celebrate the other things that defined Eric's life.

  • kerrymferrell Feb 5, 2015

    Dear Eric's Family
    After reading some of the comments please know that I knew Eric. He was one of my son's best friends. I loved him dearly. I am heart broken! He was kind, loving, polite and always talked to me about how much he loved his wonderful grandparents. Please ignore any negative comments that some may post. Apex has a horrible drug problem and as I write this I know that my son could be dead right now. Heroin use touched many of our lives. Did I as a mom think for one minute that my son would ever use heroin, OF COURSE NOT! I mourn the death of Eric. I cry for his lost life and the pain his family must be enduring now. Please know that Eric was loved by many, kind to others. I will miss his tender heart and the many conversations we had when he came over to my house with my son. This a a tragic loss of a sweet soul. I feel truly blessed to have known this wonderful person. Yes, he made a bad choice, but that does not make him a bad person.
    RTP Eric.

  • Steve McToots Feb 5, 2015
    user avatar

    One thing that always bothers me is how often the news gets stories wrong. I remember an IT issue at a university here several years ago and not one thing was accurate.
    Several stories are often wrong. It is all about sensationalism now and not about reporting fact.
    With a rampant drug, alcohol and teen deat rate from poor driving in and around apex, wake county and NC - you would think the news organizations would help and by exposing the shortfalls of the community, authorities and politicians who refuse to acknowledge and pool resources to help reduce this.
    But it never matter. More will die.
    So long ad we have more bible, gun and worry about gay marriage, nothing will get solved.

  • Steve McToots Feb 5, 2015
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    Evidently, all of the news stories play with different version of what THEY think and then you have speculators on here who have NO clue. So let's not keep asking.
    As I said, I am family. I was there. I know what happened. I won't say anymore as there is an ongoing investigation.
    But the rest of you need to hold your speculation and callous comments AT LEAST until we have our service for him.

  • ncguy Feb 5, 2015

    Evidently the victim just got out of the hospital the same day for the same problem?

  • officebox Feb 5, 2015

    View quoted thread

    Jscott13, you're right. I remember WRAL recently had the dad whose son died in the car accident and the driver then committed suicide. His warning was about the growing drug culture in our area. Here's the story: http://www.wral.com/father-of-cary-man-who-died-in-wreck-says-son-struggled-with-addiction/14350073/

  • Brian Hill Feb 5, 2015
    user avatar

    OK folks. Time for some education.

    1.The felony murder rule does not apply to all felonies. It applies only to certain named felonies (the usual big ones like rape, robbery, arson) and to felonies committed with a deadly weapon. Simple distribution of drugs does not count as felony murder even if the distribution itself is a felony because it is neither a violent felony nor was it committed with a deadly weapon.

    2.Culpable negligence is not sufficient for a first degree murder charge. (See http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=895956263024213175 ...culpable negligence may not be used to satisfy the intent requirements for a first-degree murder charge...)

    3.As for the poison argument, see here : http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=5678089619431665593&hl=en&as_sdt=6,34.