Friday Harbor man charged with controlled substance homicide

Warning: The following story contains details about drug use.

Kale Martin Taylor, 18, of Friday Harbor, has been charged with controlled substance homicide, which is a class b felony, in San Juan County Superior Court.

Taylor is accused of selling drugs that resulted in the overdose of a Friday Harbor teen. Taylor was 17 at the time of the alleged crime and turned 18 this past October. He is being tried as an adult.

Taylor pleaded not guilty on Jan. 5. On Jan. 11, public defender Alex Frix filed a notice of disqualification against San Juan County Judge Kathryn Loring. No reason was given. Under RCW 4.12.050, such notice may be filed by any party, for no more than one judge in any matter, if no discretionary ruling has happened.

Island County Superior Court will appoint a new judge. Hearings will still take place in San Juan County with the judge appearing electronically. An omnibus hearing is scheduled for Feb. 6.

On Aug. 17, 2022 Detective Lukas Peter responded to an apparent overdose after a male was found dead in his bed. In searching his room, Peter found a wallet with a small piece of rolled-up aluminum foil containing a light blue fragment of a pill. It was identified as counterfeit oxycodone referred to as “M30s” or “Blues,” which are known to contain fentanyl. The foil had black burn residue on it. Opiate users will sometimes burn drugs on foil and then inhale the fumes.

After an autopsy, the victim’s cause of his death was determined to be acute fentanyl intoxication.

Members of the victim’s family reported that Taylor visited their home in the evening on Aug. 16. Detectives found Snapchat messages between Taylor and the victim that indicated Taylor was coming over that night to sell the victim drugs around 7 p.m. A family member checked on the victim between 8 and 10 p.m. and presumed him to be sleeping. Detectives believe he was likely already deceased. The following morning, after being unable to wake him, his mother immediately called 911.

During a police interview, Taylor denied introducing the victim to fentanyl or selling him drugs. He did admit the two worked together, previously consumed drugs together and that the victim’s “drug of choice” was fentanyl in the form of a blue pill marked “M30.” Taylor said the victim typically consumed the pill by placing it on foil and heating it with a lighter. Taylor stated he came to his friend’s house that evening to discuss a ride to work and bring him a small square of foil.

On Aug. 17, Taylor initiated entering a substance treatment program through Compass Health. He successfully completed it in December. At the time of Taylor’s arrest, he was living in a juvenile treatment facility in Washington state, earning his GED, working on a farm and learning life skills. The conditions of his release from the custody of the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office state he will return to that facility, not leave Washington state and wear a GPS monitoring device.