Two Drug Arrests Connected to James Death (ADDITIONAL INFORMATION)

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Published on February 13 2014 3:34 pm
Last Updated on February 13 2014 9:00 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

Felony drug charges have been filed against two local men in connection with the February 4 death of Jessica James in Effingham.

Effingham County State's Attorney Bryan Kibler announced that 22-year-old Jay C. Miller of Altamont has been charged with possession of a controlled substance and 23-year-old Albert D. Church of Effingham has been charged with delivery of a controlled substance under an accountability theory. In both cases, heroin was identified as the controlled substance.

The death of the 29-year-old James, a former Shelbyville resident, has been investigated since it occurred.  Effingham County Coroner Duane Guffey Thursday afternoon said an official cause of James' death has still not been determined, pending the result of toxicology tests.

Miller and Church are being held in Effingham County Jail.  

During a court hearing Thursday afternoon, Church was assigned Conflicts Public Defender Richard Runde to handle his case.  He is next due in court February 19 at 10am.  His bond is set at $75,000.

Miller's case is scheduled for appearance with counsel at 10am Tuesday.

Following Church's hearing, Kibler said Church reportedly told authorities that he notified James of someone who could supply her with heroin, and that's the basis of the charge facing Church.  Kibler said when authorities checked Church's phone, they found he had been in repeated contact with Miller.  Authorities already had an active warrant for Miller's arrest on an unrelated case.  When they served the arrest warrant, he was found to have heroin in a pocket of his coat, and that led to the possession charge.

Kibler's statement indicated the filing of additional charges against either or both men is a possibility, as an Effingham Police Department investigation continues.

Kibler's office recently hosted an informational meeting on the increasing use of heroin in the Effingham area.  Kibler said, "This is an important case; she (James) died and you have someone who said he set her up with a supplier."  

We'll remind you again, though, that the cause of James' death is yet to be officially determined.