Energy Northwest Scientist Accused of Murder Had Prior Drug Char - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Energy Northwest Scientist Accused of Murder Had Prior Drug Charge

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KENNEWICK, Wash. - An Energy Northwest scientist accused of murder in West Virginia was arrested in Kennewick Saturday. Police say the wife of one of his old college friends died after taking drugs he sent them in West Virginia

32-year-old Chad Renzelman now faces charges of first degree murder and delivery of a controlled substance. 

Investigators in Roane County, West Virginia said they never expected to be calling Washington State Friday night when they were looking into a possible drug overdose. But Renzelman's name and return address in Kennewick were listed on an envelope that held hits of LSD, or acid.

It also held an anniversary card on which Renzelman had added a note, offering the option of 100 additional hit sheets for $300.

His friend's wife and mother of two, 32-year-old Renee Honaker, died after he husband said she took two of those hits.

"People put that in their bodies. We're fortunate we don't have a lot more of these incidents where people are overdosing. Every time someone puts something in their mouth that someone else has made and you don't know what's in it, you're taking this risk," said Roane County Prosecuting Attorney Josh Downey.

This isn't Renzelman's first run-in with the law concerning manufacturing drugs. According to a 2008 article in the Santa Cruz Sentinel, Renzelman was arrested in northern California while studying Organic Chemistry at UC Santa Cruz. 

He was accused of manufacturing opium when he made a home-brewed poppy beer. He was sentenced at the time to a drug diversion program and those charges were dropped from his record.

Authorities in West Virginia say they're finalizing the details to bring Renzelman back to their state to face the drug and murder charges. 

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