BR police arrest man on murder in heroin overdose death

Baton Rouge police on Friday arrested a man on second-degree murder who they believe administered a heroin injection that led to the overdose death of Guy Koontz Jr.

Interviews with Marc Roussel led investigators to believe he injected Koontz, 42, with heroin before he died at his home at 4437 Capital Heights Ave., police said in a news release. Koontz’s body was discovered at the home on Feb. 27.

Police booked Roussel, 32, of 1936 Candlewood Ave., into Parish Prison on counts of second-degree murder, possession of heroin, possession of marijuana and distribution of heroin.

Heroin use in the parish has been on the rise, prompting Baton Rouge police and other law enforcement to work overdose cases more aggressively by using the state’s second-degree murder statute. A section of that statute allows police to arrest someone on second-degree murder if the distribution or dispensing of an illegal drug is the direct cause of a death.

Heroin-related deaths in East Baton Rouge rose from five in 2012 to 34 in 2013, and the local detox center saw an increase from 74 heroin addicts admitted to the center in 2011 to 300 people in 2013.

The amount of heroin seized by law enforcement in the parish also increased, with 117 grams confiscated in 2012 to 3,807 grams — or 8.3 pounds — seized in 2013.