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Guilford Judge Died From Heroin, Fentanyl Intoxication

Tom Jarrell
Judge Tom Jarrell (right) takes the oath of office for the NC Human Trafficking Commission in August 2018.

Autopsy results indicate that a prominent Guilford County judge died from an opioid overdose.

Tom Jarrell was 56 years old when he was found dead in his home in August.

The State Medical Examiner’s Office has released an autopsy, citing fentanyl and heroin intoxication as the cause of death.

According to the report, Jarrell had a medical history with an irregular heartbeat, but police found a plastic bag with a powdered substance in his pocket. The autopsy found that there was a possible needle puncture in his right arm with dried blood. Also, the report said police found a pocketknife and a piece of paper containing a powdered substance in his bathroom.

Jarrell had been a prosecutor in Guilford County’s High Point courthouse when he was appointed as a district court judge 20 years ago. At the time of his death, he was Guilford’s chief district court judge.

Like many other parts of the nation, North Carolina is in the midst of an opioid crisis. Last year, the number of accidental opioid-related fatalities decreased for the first time in five years.

Still, more than 1,700 people died from such overdoses in 2018.

This story was originally published on WFDD.org.