MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Memphis man is charged with murder in the fentanyl overdose death of a teenage boy.
Samuel Sipes, 20, is charged with second-degree murder in the death of 17-year-old Donte Straughter.
The victim’s family said Straughter and Sipes were close friends with Sipes at one point living at their home.
“He was tricked by friends,” said Donte’s mother Thelma Straughter “I’m a hands-on mother so this going on with my son it’s a tragedy. It hurts.”
Thelma Straughter said her family is traumatized.
“I cry myself to sleep. I cry in the shower,” she said. “It’s a pain I will never get over. I thought losing my husband to war was hard, but it’s no comparison to losing my son.”
According to Memphis Police, Straughter was found dead inside a friend’s home on Wrenwood Street in late January.
Investigators said his mother shared a phone recording where Sipes and another friend, who she says is a juvenile, could be heard saying Donte stopped by Sipes’ house and was given marijuana and fentanyl. Police also said the teen texted Sipes asking for fentanyl.
“Did I know he was on it? No, I didn’t. I knew that my son smoked weed, but I did not know my son was on fentanyl,” Thelma said.
Detectives say an autopsy confirmed Straughter’s cause of death was a fatal dose of fentanyl. His mother said she believes the juvenile is the person who sold him the drugs. She wants him and his parents charged.
“He’s the one that sold my son fentanyl knowing it was straight fentanyl,” she said.
She’s sending this message to parents and teens battling peer pressure and drug abuse.
“Watch your friends. No such thing as friends nowadays. You can’t trust nobody nowadays,” Thelma said. “For the mother’s out there, be in your kid’s life, business, it don’t matter what it is.”
Our records show this is not Sipes first arrest. In 2021, his father turned him in for stealing from his parent’s house.
Sipes is being held on a $100,000 bond. He is due in court Wednesday.