Student dies after alleged heroin use

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by Paul Mullin

Westminster Choir College (WCC) freshman Justin R. Warfield, 18, died early Wednesday from heroin use, police said.

Warfield, of Columbia, Md., was pronounced dead on arrival at the University Medical Center at Princeton at approximately 6 a.m. on Wednesday.

“This is devastating to the community,” said Rider Dean of Students Anthony Campbell. “I feel so much sorrow for the family and Justin.”

Campbell, who spent significant time with the Warfield family on Wednesday, said he is becoming more and more concerned about the abuse of alcohol and drugs among students.

“[Student deaths resulting from] alcohol and drugs are so senseless to me,” he said. “They take away the future potential of students.”

Yesterday morning authorities announced that they had arrested 19-year-old Kieran Hunt in connection with Warfield’s death, and that he has been charged with strict liability for a drug-induced death and the distribution of heroin.

Princeton Borough police also issued summonses to sophomore Robert Kelly, 19, of Danby, Vermont, junior Nicholas Landrum, 20, of Mullica Hills, N.J., and freshman Bryan Smith, 19, of Freehold, N.J., all WCC students, for harassment.

According to a press release issued by the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office, Hunt, of Piscataway, N.J., purchased, prepared and injected doses of heroin for himself and Warfield. Shortly after the injection in a parking lot on the WCC campus, Warfield passed out, and Hunt and Kelly brought him to Landrum’s apartment in the 200 block of Witherspoon Street in Princeton Borough at around 11:30 p.m.

Warfield was placed on a futon, and Hunt, Kelly, Landrum and Smith proceeded to draw on him with markers, police said. When Landrum noticed that Warfield had stopped breathing, he began CPR and called 911 at approximately 5 a.m. Police arrived on the scene and performed CPR until the emergency squad arrived.

The toxicology results of an autopsy performed on Wednesday are pending. Police received information that prior to the injection of heroin Warfield may have taken several doses of Adderall, a stimulant drug used primarily to treat ADHD and narcolepsy, for which he had a prescription.

Police could neither confirm nor deny the presence of alcohol at this time.

Bail for Hunt has been set at $100,000 and his first court appearance is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 22, in Princeton Borough Municipal Court.

After news of Warfield’s death broke on Wednesday, media outlets crowded the Princeton campus with cameras and news vans. At one point, three helicopters hovered over the campus.

“Security has been doing a good job trying to minimize the disruption for people,” said Dr. Joel Phillips, professor of music composition, history and theory at WCC. “Obviously everyone is very distraught.”

Phillips, who taught Warfield in one of his classes, commented on the music theory and composition major’s exceptional talents.

“Often musicians excel in some single aspect of the art,” Phillips said. “He was a cellist, a pianist, a singer and a drummer, and he possessed the rarest of musical talents: the ability to compose.”

WCC freshman Jodi Zhao, a voice performance major, said that Warfield would be remembered for his presence on the Princeton campus.

“The WCC community will recover gradually, but it’s awful to realize that there will always be a Justin-sized gap in our midst,” she said. “We all just want him back.”

Warfield’s family had not completed funeral plans as of late Thursday.

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