Boyfriend accused of murder in heroin overdose death of girlfriend

Baton Rouge police arrested a 30-year-old man Monday in the fatal heroin overdose of a 31-year-old woman on Dec. 18, the second arrest in a heroin overdose death in Baton Rouge in the last six months.

Brandon Eirick, 11414 Bard Ave., Baton Rouge, was arrested at about 8:30 p.m. and booked into Parish Prison on counts of second-degree murder in the death of his girlfriend Leah Hutchinson, Baton Rouge police spokesman Cpl. Don Coppola Jr. said.

Police responded to 6945 Florida Blvd. on Dec. 18 and found Eirick and Hutchinson unresponsive in a vehicle, Coppola said.

Both were transported to a hospital where Hutchinson later died, Coppola said. He did not know exactly when Hutchinson died.

Heroin use skyrocketed in 2013, partly due to the crackdown on prescription pills.

Eirick is the second person arrested — Jarret McCasland, of Denham Springs, being the other — in Baton Rouge using a provision in Louisiana’s second-degree murder statute.

Louisiana lawmakers expanded the state’s second-degree murder statute amid the crack cocaine epidemic in 1987 to include offenders who distribute an illegal drug proven to be the direct cause of a user’s death, even when that person lacked specific intent to kill.

In the McCasland case, a witness told East Baton Rouge Parish sheriff’s deputies that McCasland administered cocaine and heroin to Flavia Cardenas at the witness’ home.

The witness said Cardenas did not know how to inject herself with the syringe and relied on McCasland to administer the drugs.

McCasland has been indicted on second-degree murder charges, but a trial date has not been set.

District Attorney Hillar Moore III has said the charge in Cardenas’ death is based on allegations the heroin was the direct cause of her July 26 death.