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Deerfield man arraigned on charge of selling heroin that caused death

DEERFIELD - Joshua Leighton, 31, was arraigned this morning for selling heroin that caused the death of another Deerfield man.

Police allege that after buying heroin from Leighton, James O'Rourke, 29, died from using the drug.

Leighton was ordered held on $100,000 cash bail at his arraignment this morning and is being held at Rockingham County jail, said prosecutor Zach Cross.

Leighton is charged with sale of a controlled drug with a death resulting, which Cross explained is a special felony that carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Leighton has a probable cause hearing scheduled for Aug. 1 at the 10th Circuit Court Derry Division.

Chief Michael Greeley of Deerfield police said O'Rourke's death appears to be unintentional, as the heroin used appears to be free of contaminants.

"We are not sure if he overdosed or just had a bad reaction," Greeley said.

Greeley said that due to the active nature of the investigation, he could not say how the heroin O'Rourke died using was linked to Leighton.

"But I feel we have a strong case, otherwise we wouldn't have turned it over to the prosecutor," Greeley said.

He added that based upon the investigation, he does not think that O'Rourke's death was a suicide. Sgt. Michael Lavoie previously said that Leighton was arrested after a six-month investigation.


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