UPDATED AT 6:01 P.M.
A Sneads Ferry man who has been in jail since July on heroin and conspiracy charges was charged this week in the overdose death of a reported customer.
Joshua Grappo, 30, of Hickory Lane was charged Tuesday by the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office with second degree murder.
Grappo is accused of selling the Fentanyl that led to Joseph Daniel Allen’s fatal overdose on June 23, according to information from the sheriff’s office.
Emergency personnel responded to 508 Poverty Point Road in Sneads Ferry on June 23 where they found Allen unresponsive and transported him to New Hanover Regional Medical Center, according to a release from the sheriff’s office. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Allen’s friends remember him as an amazing father, a man who was trying to turn his life around for his two young children, Jayla and Nolan.
“He was trying to do everything right,” said his longtime friend Jason Grote.
Grote met Allen at Dixon Middle School and the two were part of a group of friends who stayed in touch even after high school, Grote said.
Allan Willis was also part of their group, according to Grote, and Willis said he became close friends with Allen in fourth grade.
Allen kept Willis laughing, he said, which inevitably got the two in trouble. As boys they hid behind the coat rack when the rest of the students left for lunch, then erased the bad marks they’d received.
“That was his idea and it worked like a charm until the day he fell while the teacher was walking out and got us both busted,” Willis said.
Allen was a class clown, according to his friend Garrett Porter, and the pranks began early for Allen. Porter remembers the two of them prank calling people throughout the summer — all innocent fun, Porter said.
“I guarantee there isn’t one person he ever met that didn’t smile or laugh upon meeting him,” Porter said.
Allen was also great at impressions, Willis continued. He mimicked everything from a person’s stance to their voice and was able impersonate them perfectly, Willis said.
There were other unique characteristics about Allen that Willis spoke about, including his love of music. Allen wrote songs and played guitar, and with his friends he loved to sing a slightly obscene Spanish phrase, which made the group laugh until they were sick, he said.
The day after Allen’s death, Willis said the group played the song together and laughed until they cried.
Though he was always making others laugh, internally Allen struggled with addiction, according to Grote.
Grote moved to Sneads Ferry in his early teens and said “immediately drugs were shoved in my face,” although then it was cocaine and prescription pills, not heroin, he said.
“There’s always been a lot of drugs in Sneads Ferry,” Grote said. “I left North Carolina because of how bad I was getting . . . It’s a hard place to grow up.”
It was difficult for Allen as well, who lost his brother and mother in recent years, according to Grote.
“He loved his mother more than anything. She was his rock,” Porter said.
Allen had been doing well — temporarily overcoming his addiction for his children’s sake — but had started using heroin again a couple of weeks before his death, Grote said.
“Joseph relapsed. I don’t know how it happened or why it happened,” Grote said.
It was a long struggle for him, friends said.
“Joseph has battled with addiction in one form or another his whole life,” Willis said.
When the friends were younger, Grote said they got bored in the fishing community. In the summer there was always surfing, but when winter came and shops closed for the season there was nothing to do.
Willis said nearly everyone he knew growing up turned to drugs to cope with the boredom of Sneads Ferry.
“When we were sitting around doing nothing . . . we’d immediately try to figure something out to get high,” Grote said.
Most of the people Grote knew who used drugs in Sneads Ferry eventually stopped, but Allen wasn’t able to.
“I think he just struggled with his addiction,” he said.
Grappo’s bond for the second degree murder charge was set at $200,000. He was served while in jail where he has been since July 22 after he was allegedly found with more than 100 bindles of heroin and placed in custody under a $2 million bond.
His July charges include maintaining a vehicle for controlled substances; manufacturing a schedule I controlled substances, heroin; felony conspiracy manufacturing a controlled substance, heroin; two counts of felony conspiracy of possession with intent to manufacture, sell and deliver a schedule I substance, heroin; and possession of drug paraphernalia.
His next court date for the July charges is scheduled for Dec. 5.
UPDATED AT 12:10 P.M.
The Onslow County Sheriff’s Office sent out a press released with more information about the murder charges brought against Joshua Grappo.
Emergency personnel responded to 508 Poverty Point Road in Sneads Ferry on June 23 and found Joseph Daniel Allen unresponsive, according to the release.
He was transported to Onslow Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead, according to the release, and the investigation revealed that Allen’s death was caused by an overdose of Fentanyl, which Grappo allegedly sold to him.
The charges are the result of a two-and-a-half month investigation. Grappo’s bond was set at $200,000, which brings his total bond up to $2.2 million after his arrest on July22 when he was found with more than 100 bindles of heroin.
In July, he was charged with charged with maintaining a vehicle for controlled substances; manufacturing a schedule I controlled substances, heroin; felony conspiracy manufacturing a controlled substance, heroin; two counts of felony conspiracy of possession with intent to manufacture, sell and deliver a schedule I substance, heroin; and possession of drug paraphernalia.
A Sneads Ferry man has been arrested on murder charges and accused of causing the overdose death of another man.
Joshua Grappo, 30, of Hickory Lane was arrested by the Onslow County Sheriff's Office late Tuesday and charged with second degree murder.
Grappo is accused of selling an opium derivative substance to Joseph Daniel Allen on June 23, which caused Allen's death, according to warrants.
Stay with JDNews for updates on this developing story.