Court documents: Sullivan County woman indicted on murder, drug charges


SULLIVAN COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL) – A woman is charged with 2nd-degree murder and multiple drug charges related to an overdose death in Sullivan County.

According to court documents, Tonya Gray, is charged with:

  1. 2nd-degree murder
  2. Sale of heroin (three counts)
  3. Delivery of heroin
  4. Sale of fentanyl
  5. Delivery of fentanyl

A Sullivan County grand jury presentment was signed November 6th. Gray was pulled over by deputies and arrested on Bloomingdale Road during the evening of November 14th.

The indictment states that Gray “on or about July 20, 2019… did unlawful and feloniously kill Lyndsey Keesee by the unlawful distribution or unlawful delivery of Fentanyl…”

According to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the victim purchased heroin laced with fentanyl from Gray before she died.

Gray is being held in the Sullivan County Jail on a $100,000 bond. A court date has not yet been set.

Gray’s arrest was the first for the task force and is part of a broader initiative with a recently formed drug task force.

“The idea is that we will be able to provide enough funding to disrupt and dismantle drug trafficking organizations,” said TBI Director David Rausch in Tuesday’s joint press conference.

The Sullivan County Drug-Related Death Task Force is a partnership between the TBI, 2nd Judicial District Drug Task Force, 2nd Judicial District Attorney’s Office, Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office, Bristol, TN Police Department, Kingsport Police Department, Drug Enforcement Administration, Tennessee National Guard, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office. 

It’s one that authorities say is desperately needed in Sullivan County.

“We put together this task force because of the need, because of the desire of the team. They were beating on the door saying ‘We need the help,'” said Rausch.

The task force is funded through the Appalachia High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas- or HITDAS.

District Attorney General Barry Staubus says Gray’s arrest and indictment sets a precedent.

“This case is representative of the other kinds of cases we will be investigating and charging in the future,” said Staubus.

Bristol, TN Police Chief Blaine Wade says that deeper investigation couldn’t be done without the task force.

“These investigations are very difficult to find the channel and the sources for the drugs and the supply and approve requires a lot of man-hours for our personnel,” says Wade.

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