By Gregory J. Lamoureux
“Cochran stated more than once if Stevens had taken the pills he had, Stevens would still be alive, because he sells real prescription pills.”
Those were the words of investigating officer Sean Bourgeois of the St. Albans Police Department in a sworn 25-page long affidavit filed in criminal court, connecting 28 year-old Shawn Cochran with the overdose death of Donald Stevens III, 33, of St. Albans in May.
Police have been investigating the death of Stevens since May 5th, when Steven’s girlfriend called 911 after waking up next to her deceased boyfriend.
Stevens, a 2005 Enosburg high school graduate and a Military Veteran suffered from drug addiction after injuring his back in the military more than a decade ago. That drug addiction ultimately lead to his demise with a cause of death being ruled as drug and alcohol intoxication by the Vermont Medical Examiner’s office.
During the course of the investigation, Stevens’ girlfriend told police that she and Stevens were spending some private time together at Stevens’ apartment on Russell Street after going to Shooter’s Bar on May 4th.
The County Courier has decided not to completely identify Stevens’ girlfriend but will refer to her as Jen.
Jen told police that a man whom she didn’t know came to the apartment to meet Stevens in the wee hours of May 5th. The man supplied Stevens with three blue pills, which Stevens told Jen he used to treat his back pain from an earlier military injury.
The two would later fall asleep, but only Jen would wake up.
During the investigation, police identified Shawn Cochran as a person of interest and later filed for a subpoena for Steven’s Facebook communications, in an attempt to identify the person who sold Stevens the fatal pills.
A conversation between Stevens and Cochran’s Facebook accounts on May 4th, around 9:08 pm show Stevens asking for “blues,” a street term for Oxycodone, according to the court file.
That conversation continued with Cochran charging $40 per pill, but told Stevens he would do a bulk discount of $35 per pill if he purchased more than 10 pills.
The facebook conversation continued throughout the evening until just after midnight when Cochran messaged Stevens that he was outside, and would be coming in to look for Stevens.
Police obtained messages from Cochran’s Facebook account to Jen about 15 hours later, “Hey, this is Donald’s girlfriend, right?” “Please call me I just heard about (Stevens), is he really dead?”
Cochran later told police he drove to see Stevens that evening, and had intended to supply him with drugs, but claimed Stevens had already obtained what he was looking for at a better price.
The investigation continued with an interview between police and a woman identified as Elizabeth Scott, Cochran’s ex-girlfriend. Scott told police that she had a conversation with Cochran sometime after Steven’s death. She told police that Cochran confessed to her that he sold three blue Percocet pills (30mg each) to Stevens, then watched him shoot all three at one time.
Scott went on to tell the officer that she had taken one of the pills by snorting it, and it “hit her all at once.” She continued telling the officer that she thought it had fentanyl in it.
“(Scott) told me at one point that (Cochran) believes, very truthfully, he is the reason for Stevens’ death and the pills that he gave him was the reason for his death,” wrote the investigator about his interview with Cochran’s girlfriend.
Cochran would later confess to being part of the drug deal, even making the final delivery of the product to Stevens and partaking in a small portion of one of the pills with Stevens, but told police that he did not know that Stevens overdosed on the pills.
On September 23rd, Cochran met with the investigator where he was issued a citation to appear in Criminal Court, on Monday, to answer to the charge of fentanyl sale in connection with the death of Stevens, as well as three counts of violating conditions of release. He pleaded not guilty.
He is currently being housed at Northwest State Correctional Center on $50,000 bail, pending a resolution to the case.