Man charged in 2nd overdose death

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A Wilson County man accused in a 2018 heroin overdose death is now charged in connection to another overdose death that claimed a 26-year-old’s life.

The Wilson County Sheriff’s Office responded to an overdose call at a home on Springfield School Road near Lucama on Saturday. A patient was unconscious and possibly not breathing, according to Wanda Samuel, sheriff’s office chief of staff.

When deputies arrived, they found a 26-year-old dead from an apparent heroin overdose.

Detectives from the sheriff’s office narcotics division were called out to investigate the case. Detectives learned that 51-year-old James Jerome Bass was the person who sold the drugs to the victim, Samuel said.

Investigators collected syringes, several bags of heroin and several empty bindles of heroin from the Springfield School Road home where the man was discovered.

Samuel said detectives then went to Bass’ home at 9173 Hogg Road southeast of Middlesex where they conducted a “knock and talk” and obtained consent to search.

She said detectives collected additional evidence from Bass’ home connecting him to Saturday’s overdose on Springfield School Road.

Bass was arrested and charged with second-degree murder. He is currently being held in the Wilson County Detention Center under a $350,000 secured bond.


Bass has a pending second-degree murder charge in connection to 36-year-old Rebecca Ann Kemp’s overdose death on Dec. 1, 2018.

Kemp’s 39-year-old boyfriend, Bennie Thomas Amerson, was also charged in her death.

A further investigation by the sheriff’s office then revealed that Bass supplied the heroin to Amerson, who in return supplied it to his girlfriend, officials said at the time. Authorities arrested Bass several days later where he was arrested and charged.

More than a week later, Bass posted a $45,000 secured bond on Dec. 14, 2018, according to records. Bass’ next court date on that case is slated for March.

“The Wilson County Sheriff’s Office investigates all overdose incidents with two primary functions — to prevent illegal narcotics from re-entering our community and to arrest those who distribute this poison in our community,” Wilson County Sheriff Calvin Woodard said in a statement. “Two second-degree murder charges sends a message of disregard to human life and an increased need to investigate, arrest and fight this battle for the families who have to undergo this pain.”

Woodard said he wants families to know that his office will not “stop fighting this war on drugs.”