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Miami Drug Dealer Charged with Murder in Overdose Death of Community Activist

Recently, Miami-Dade prosecutors charged Raymundo Rodriguez Fernandez in the March 2014 death of Cheri Rollins. Rollins was a well-respected advocate for gay and lesbian rights and a vocal proponent against school privatization in Philadelphia, where she lived.

On the evening of March 11, 2014, Rollins was visiting her girlfriend in the Buena Vista district of Miami. Rollins texted her girlfriend to tell her she was going over to a neighbor's house. She then went to Fernandez's home. Fernandez's girlfriend, Adriana Laverde, who did not come forward with her story until September of 2014 saying that she feared threats to the lives of herself and her family, was also in the apartment.

Laverde alleges that Fernandez forced additional heroin upon Rollins even after she was incapacitated by the first hit. Laverde says that she pleaded with Fernandez to seek medical help for Cheri Rollins, known as "Sheddy," but that he refused. After attempting to shock Rollins with ice and inject her with a homemade saline mixture, Laverde alleges that Fernandez did not allow her to call 911 eight hours later, after he hid guns and drugs. Rollins was already dead when paramedics arrived, a combination of alcohol, cocaine, and heroin in her system. Laverde's original statement was that Rollins had been obviously intoxicated when she arrived, and had passed out, "snoring loudly."

The murder charge is brought under a provision of the law which allows the provider of heroin or cocaine to be charged with first degree murder. Though used infrequently, the cases that it has factored into have been high profile. In 2007, a woman named Melanie Mazzotti was found guilty after smuggling drugs to her boyfriend in prison, who later died when the package ruptured in his stomach. The same year, a security guard by the name of Christopher Rodrguez was sentenced to six years for selling ecstasy pills to a teenage girl who died. And in 2008, drug dealer Charles Greenfield was convicted after someone he sold heroin to died.

On their own, drug crimes can become a complicated trial. When you add a murder charge or other criminal charges into the case, it becomes much more complex. An experienced criminal law attorney will be able to help you protect your rights as well as understand the charges and trial process.

MiamiHerald.com, "Miami Drug Dealer Charged with Murder in an Overdose Death," Ovalle, David, 2 October 2014

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