REPORT: Florida Sheriff Apprehends Murder Suspect After Impersonating Dead Man

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Jeff Charles Contributor
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A Seminole County, Florida sheriff’s deputy reportedly apprehended a murder suspect after playing a dead man to lure him into a trap, according to court records. Suspected drug dealer Corie Gene Phillips, 52, faces charges of first-degree murder, according to Click Orlando.

The deputy reportedly posed as an overdose victim to make phone calls and send text messages to the suspect, the arrest affidavit said.

The investigation into Phillips began in July 2023 when law enforcement officers responded to a 911 call about an unresponsive man at Casselberry home, according to the outlet. Methamphetamine and fentanyl were allegedly discovered on the dining table near the victim, court records revealed, the outlet reported.

Law enforcement reportedly found that the man had been in contact with Phillips via his phone when the alleged perpetrator called, investigators said. This prompted the deputy to pose as the deceased individual in communications with the suspect and entice him to come to the residence, according to the outlet.

The officer reportedly texted the suspect, pretending to be the victim, and told Phillips that the phone had been damaged, court records said. The suspect called the victim’s phone and the deputy answered, impersonating the deceased, according to the outlet. Phillips was allegedly persuaded to sell methamphetamine to the deputy in return for $150, the outlet reported. The officer reportedly used an injury to the victim to convince the alleged dealer to visit the victim’s house, where he was arrested while allegedly possessing methamphetamine and fentanyl.

Phillips eventually admitted to selling drugs to the deceased, court records revealed, Click Orlando reported. The suspect reportedly accepted a no contest plea on drug charges and was sentenced to around a month’s probation, then was arrested weeks after on murder charges. Under Florida law, someone who distributes certain listed controlled substances, including methamphetamine and fentanyl, which then result in a death from overdose can be charged with first-degree murder.

The report does not indicate whether the victim knew he was ingesting fentanyl with the methamphetamine. However, many Americans have died from overdose deaths due to unknowingly taking the opioid. (RELATED: REPORT: Milwaukee Mother Faces Multiple Charges After Baby Girl Allegedly Dies From Fentanyl Overdose)

“More than 80% of New Yorkers who inject drugs test positive for the opioid fentanyl, despite only 18% reporting using it intentionally,” an NYU School of Global Public Health study found.