Aaron Douglas didn’t have the controlled substance that would ultimately cause his death when he called for a taxi cab late May 11, according to police..
En route to the house where his body would eventually be discovered hours later, the former Maryville High School and University of Tennessee football standout bought two Methadone pills from his driver, 50-year-old Rodney Young Odum, who had a reputation as a “mobile drug dealer,” according to police.
Odum was arrested late Monday and charged with manslaughter and sale/delivery of a controlled substance, Fernandina Beach (Fla.) Police Chief James T. Hurley announced Tuesday. Odum is currently being held on $50,000 bond at the Nassau County Jail.
“The combined opinions of police detectives, the State Attorney’s Office, and the Douglas family were considered in determining that Manslaughter was the most appropriate charge in this case,” Hurley wrote. “The victim clearly shares some responsibility for the reckless behavior that took his life. However, Mr. Odum reportedly had a reputation as a mobile drug dealer, making it very easy for the victim to locate and ingest the drugs that killed him.”
The 21-year-old Douglas, who had transferred to Alabama for the 2011 season, had more than just Methadone in his system when he was found dead early May 12 on the second-floor balcony at 2570 First Avenue in a Fernandina Beach house. A medical examiner’s toxicology report revealed trace amounts of Diazepam — also known as Valium — Carisoprodol — a type of muscle relaxant — Meprobamate, Nordiazepam, Oxycodone and Cannabinoids.
The Methadone pills, alone, were “sufficient enough to cause death,” Hurley wrote. Without it, Douglas would have likely survived, as Hurley wrote “no other combination would have likely caused death.”
“Although it is often difficult to pursue criminal charges in cases involving drug overdoses, this case provides us the ability to send a clear message that we intend to prosecute those that openly dispense dangerous drugs in our community whenever possible,” Hurley wrote.
Odum’s arrest is the fifth in relation to Douglas’ death. On June 21, the four residents of the house — Daniel Stouter, 24, Dana Luberto, 23, Neal Clements 22, and Nathaniel Flanders 21 — were charged with allowing an open house party “wherein at least 16 persons under the age of 21 were allowed to consume alcohol and/or narcotics.
Following a dinner in Jacksonville, Douglas was last seen alive at 2 a.m. early May 12. He was found dead a little more than six hours later.
Douglas, a former freshman All-America offensive tackle with the Vols in 2009, transferred from UT after the coaching change from Lane Kiffin to Derek Dooley before his sophomore season. He played one season at Arizona Western College before signing with Alabama at the end of 2010.
The son of a former UT football star, David, and a former Lady Vols basketball player, Karla, Douglas was charged with driving under the influence last Christmas Eve in Maryville. He was punished internally by Alabama coach Nick Saban, but responded with a strong spring and was in line for playing time at left tackle.
Andrew Gribble may be reached at 865-342-6327. Follow him at http://twitter.com/Andrew_Gribble and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/gribble