It took a local jury less than two hours to find a man charged with murder guilty. Forty-one- year old Erik Gavin Ovalle of Calhoun was charged with one count of murder and one count of distributing drugs. The case began Monday in Bartow Superiour Court and ended Friday afternoon.
According to the facts of the case, between June 24th and June 25th, 2021, while in the act of drug distribution, Ovalle caused the death of 16-year-old Gabriel Martin Nicholson. He provided Nicholson with drugs laced with fentanyl. The drug was represented as heroin.
In June 2021, Ovalle met Nicholson in the parking lot of the Mcdonalds’ restaurant in Adairsville. He sold the teenager heroin laced with fentanyl. Within hours of using the drug, the teen was dead. Unaware of Nicholson’s death, Ovalle kept texting the young man asking if he wanted more. Nicholson’s friend took the phone with the texts to Adairsville Police. They began an investigation and set up a controlled buy with Ovalle. Ovalle was arrested with the same fentanyl-laced drugs in his possession.
Assistant District Attorney Erle Newton says this should send a strong message to drug dealers in this community. He says drugs will not be tolerated in Bartow. Newton says this should also serve as a cautionary tale for those purchasing illegal drugs. Listen to WBHF for more on the case.