A Salt Lake County man has been accused of putting methamphetamine into his girlfriend’s wine — reportedly because he thought it would spice up their sex life — and causing her fatal overdose last year.
Joshua Ryan Bridgewaters, 36, of Taylorsville, was charged on Monday in 3rd District Court with first-degree felony murder for 33-year-old Stacey Buchanan’s May 2016, death. Bridgewaters also was charged with obstructing justice, a second-degree felony; and tampering with a witness, a third-degree felony.
On May 29, 2016, Bridgewaters and Buchanan had been drinking wine at a house in Murray. He allegedly put methamphetamine into her mug without her knowing, according to charging documents.
Bridgewaters’ friend — who had been at the house with Bridgewaters and Buchanan that day for a barbecue — later told police that Bridgewater had heard stories of methamphetamine “spicing up sexual relations,” charges state. The friend believed Bridgewaters had given Buchanan the drug “in an attempt to cause arousal,” charges state.
Buchanan told Bridgewater she didn’t feel well, and threw up, according to charges. She had been walking stiffly, speaking rapidly and complained of feeling hot, the friend told police.
At around 4 p.m., Buchanan called her mother, who was taking care of her children while she was at the barbecue. Someone had poisoned her drink, Buchanan reportedly told her mother. Buchanan’s mother later told police that Buchanan had asked her to come pick her up, charges state. Then the phone disconnected.
Buchanan’s daughter also called Buchanan, and later told police that on the phone, “it sounded like Ms. Buchanan couldn’t breath,” charges state. The daughter also told police she heard Buchanan say “stop it,” and “stop grabbing my phone.” She also told police she could hear Bridgewaters in the background trying to get Buchanan’s phone and saying that Buchanan was fine.
When rhe girl gave her grandmother the phone, Bridgewaters told Buchanan’s mother that Buchanan was fine, and “just mixed up,” charges state. He told her not to come and then the call disconnected.
Bridgewaters told police he helped Buchanan take a cold shower, and then called his neighbor — who is a paramedic — because she was having a seizure. Buchanan didn’t have a pulse, wasn’t breathing, and her lungs were full of vomit and fluid, the neighbor said.
Police and emergency medical personnel were called at 7:16 p.m., and Buchanan was taken to the hospital, where she was declared dead, according to charging documents.
A few days later, on May 31, police again spoke with the friend who had been at the barbecue. Bridgewaters had called and visited the friend a lot since Buchanan’s death, to make sure they had the same story, the friend reportedly told police. Bridgewaters allegedly told the friend he had given Buchanan too much methamphetamine.
Bridgewaters reportedly asked the friend to take responsibility for some marijuana that police found at the house, because Bridgewaters was on parole and not supposed to be around drugs. Bridgewaters also reportedly threatened to tell police that Buchanan’s death was the friend’s fault.
According to the friend, family members had told Bridgewaters that Buchanan hadn’t been a drug user.
Bridgewaters was taken into custody Tuesday, and is being held at the Salt Lake County jail in lieu of $1 million cash-only bail.
Court records show Bridgewaters was sentenced in 2008 to five years to life at the Utah State Prison after pleading guilty to first-degree felony aggravated robbery. He was terminated from parole on Oct. 19, according to the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole.