Fatal heroin overdose leads to alleged dealer’s arrest in Cheatham County

Christopher Stefko (Courtesy: Cheatham County Sheriff's Office)

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CHEATHAM COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – The Cheatham County Sheriff’s Office reports having four drug overdoses on Saturday, with one leading to a suspected heroin overdose death.

The deceased, identified as 30-year-old Chad Judkins of Chapmansboro, collapsed shortly after taking suspected heroin at his parents’ home on Balthrop Road.

Judkins brother called 911 saying, “I believe my brother has OD’ed on heroin. I am pretty sure he is dead.”

First responders reported trying to revive Judkins, but were unsuccessful. He was pronounced dead at Tristar Ashland City Medical Center. Investigators say the heroin he took was laced with fentanyl.

Chad Judkins (Courtesy: Cheatham County Sheriff’s Office)

According to a report, investigators gathered evidence throughout the day and learned that 39-year-old Christopher Stefko traveled from Nashville to Cheatham County and allegedly sold Judkins the heroin at his residence.

Another heroin deal was arranged by Cheatham undercover investigators. Authorities say Stefko arrived in Cheatham County and met to conduct the transaction.

Body cams captured Stefko’s arrest and officers can be heard yelling at him to get on the ground. He was taken into custody and taken to the Cheatham County jail.

He is charged with second degree murder, manufacturing/sale and delivery of a controlled substance, possession of a schedule II drug and possession of drug paraphernalia.

A passenger with Stefko, identified as Zachary Oden, was detained and found to have heroin on his person, along with outstanding warrants in Nashville.

“Oden is a heroin addict,” Lt. Shannon Heflin said. “Stefko is his dealer also.”

Zachary Oden (Courtesy: Cheatham County Sheriff’s Office)

The sheriff’s office continues to investigate whether the other overdoses are connected to Stefko.

“We see this every day in Cheatham County. We see ODs six to seven times a week, and more heroin deaths,” Heflin said. “It’s crazy. It has to stop. Once we see the deaths, we will investigate and bring those responsible to justice. That drug dealer is responsible for that man’s death; he sold that man the heroin he injected into his body that killed him.”

News 2 spoke to Stefko’s mother, Brenda Chapel, outside the Cheatham County courthouse on Monday.

“My heart goes out to the family who lost their son Chad,” she said. “Losing two children of my own, I know how they feel. I was devastated that my son was involved with heroin. I didn’t
know.”

Chapel said her son was a promising plumber and a good person until drugs took hold of him.

“My heart was broken. It is broken now,” she said. “Knowing this young man lost his life, but would he lost his life whether my son sold to him or someone else. It has to stop.”

No bond has been set at this time.