Lenoir County Man Pleads Guilty in 2011 Teen Overdose Death

RALEIGH --A Lenoir County man pleaded guilty today on second degree murder charges stemming from a 2011 teen overdose case that was investigated by the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation.

Indicted by a grand jury and arrested on Dec. 18, 2013, Ralph Jonathan Winn, 47, of Kinston, is being held in the Lenoir County jail. He was being held on a $450,000 bond for charges of Second Degree Murder, Possession With Intent to Sell and Deliver a Schedule II Controlled Substance, Selling of a Schedule II Controlled Substance, and Felony Conspiracy.

Kaitlyn Nicole Rouse was 17 years old when she ingested an overdose of fentanyl the evening of June 20, 2011 at Winn’s residence and was found unresponsive in her swimming pool at 1:30 a.m. on June 21, 2011. Toxicology studies showed a lethal blood fentanyl level.

The Lenoir County Sheriff’s Office requested the assistance of the SBI Diversion and Environmental Crimes Unit on June 12, 2012.

“DECU agents with in the SBI are specifically trained to deal with these types of complex investigations involving prescription drug overdoses,” said Donnie Varnell, SBI’s special agent in charge of the Diversion and Environmental Crimes Unit. “These results are due to the coordinated efforts of the Bureau, Lenoir County Sheriff’s Office, Jones County Sheriff’s Office and the District Attorney’s Office. None of this would have been possible without the courage and cooperation of the victim’s mother.”

The SBI’s Diversion and Environmental Crimes Unit assists local, state and federal law enforcement agencies in drug investigations and environmental crimes.


Contact: Donnie Varnell
Phone: (919) 662-4500