In April 2017, police found a dead man inside Nick Asbury’s residence.

A medical examiner said the 26-year-old died from an accidental drug overdose.

Just over a year later, police were called to a Tazewell County motel room for another overdose. This time, they said, it was Asbury.

On March 12, the 52-year-old former Bland County Board of Supervisors chairman was indicted on a felony drug possession charge stemming from the call during which police said they found heroin and syringes in the motel room and Asbury’s vehicle.

A woman with Asbury – 28-year-old Shannon Lynn Farmer, who lived at Asbury’s Bland County residence before he sold it last October – was indicted on the same charge. Both were also indicted on misdemeanor charges of possessing drug paraphernalia.

In a criminal complaint, Tazewell County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. T.E. Hayton said emergency workers were treating Asbury at the Tazewell Motel when he arrived.

“(The) female gave consent to search her as well as the room,” he wrote. “Heroin was located in (a) cigarette pack as well as the room.”

Hayton got a search warrant for Asbury’s vehicle and collected eight syringes, a cut straw and a bottle of miscellaneous pills. Hayton said Farmer had more syringes with her on her way to jail.

Farmer was charged on April 18, 2018, and Asbury was charged the next day.

Free on bond, both had preliminary hearings in January when their charges were sent to last week’s grand jury.

Unemployed for three years at the time of his arrest, Asbury, who served in the U.S. Army and has a bachelor’s degree, said he collected $1,400 a month in assistance for veterans.

“Subject polite and cooperative with magistrate and LEO. No CH (criminal history),” a magistrate wrote.

Farmer, who listed her job as caretaker, was also “cooperative” with the magistrate and police, according to court records.

Her criminal record included charges of misdemeanor obtaining money by false pretenses, assault and failure to appear in court. One assault charge was taken out in Bland County by Asbury’s daughter, Laura Asbury.

Both suspects were placed under pre-trial supervision, which included possible drug screens and orders to stay away from illegal substances.

Farmer was at Nick Asbury’s former South Scenic Highway residence in April 2018 when police went there looking for Farmer’s sister who was wanted in Tazewell County.

Police said Asbury told them he didn’t know anything when they asked him where the women they saw running had gone.

Deputies searched the residence, though, and later found and charged both women. Shannon Farmer was charged with obstructing the execution of the legal process, but that charge was later dropped.

The visit by deputies came two weeks after officers went to the same residence to investigate the death of Edgardo Aseytuno Moran.

Asbury said the Honduran native and his fiancée had been living with him for about six months while Moran, who worked for a paving company, tried to save money.

A medical examiner said Moran died of acute oxymorphone intoxication.

First elected to the Board of Supervisors in 2010, Asbury announced in 2017, after Moran’s death, that he wouldn’t be seeking re-election that November.

He’s set to enter a plea on April 29 in Tazewell County Circuit Court.

Farmer’s court date is May 2.

If convicted of the drug felony, each could face up to 10 years in prison.

Bland County grand jurors meet

Meeting on March 11, Bland County grand jurors returned three indictments against one person.

Judy Elizabeth Hess, 59, of Bland was indicted on Aug. 28 and Feb. 6, 2018, charges of felony drug possession. She is sent to enter a plea on April 16 in Bland County Circuit Court.

Jeffrey Simmons can be reached at 228-6611, extension 19, or

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