Trial to begin for local accused of selling drugs that killed Pelham man

File photo William Luna, 45, formerly of Lowell, Mass., currently of 445 Willow St., Manchester

NASHUA – Opening statements and the start of witness testimony are scheduled to begin Monday in the trial of William Luna, the 45-year-old man charged with several drug offenses – including one that accuses him of selling fentanyl to a man who died after overdosing on the drug.

Luna is among a handful of defendants to be charged with sale or distribution of a controlled drug – death resulting, a special-level felony that is punishable by up to life in prison.

The charge alleges that Luna sold a gram of fentanyl to Nicholas Wells, 25, late in the night of June 19, 2017 outside the Pelham home Wells shared with his parents, siblings and grandmother.

Several hours later, according to police, officers were called to Wells’s home for a report of an unconscious man who wasn’t breathing.

Pelham officer Bruce Vieira testified at one of Luna’s hearings that he and other officers arrived to find a man, later identified as Wells, lying on the ground just outside a basement door.

Police and paramedics performed life-saving measures, Vieira said at the time, but Wells was later pronounced dead at a Lowell, Massachusetts hospital.

The trial will take place in Hillsborough County Superior Court-South, where court officials estimate it will run for five days, Dec. 3-7.

Besides the sale of controlled drug – death resulting charge, Luna faces two counts each of a controlled drug – acts prohibited, and possession of a controlled drug – subsequent offense, all felonies; and one count each of possession of cocaine – subsequent offense and possession of fentanyl, amount greater than one gram and less than five grams, both special felonies.

Vieira, the Pelham police officer, said during a November 2017 hearing that he and other officers investigating the incident copied numerous text messages between Wells and Luna from a cellphone that was in Wells’s hand when they found him lying outside his house.

Vieira, a member of the Hillsborough County Street Crime Drug Task Force, described at the hearing how investigators tracked down Luna, their chief suspect at the time, and had him in custody within 24 hours.

An officer using Wells’s phone sent a text message to Luna, using street-slang to inquire about buying drugs, Vieira said.

Luna, believing he was communicating with Wells – he didn’t yet know that Wells had died – agreed to a meeting at the Family Dollar store on Bridge Street in Pelham.

Vieira said undercover officers arrived early and waited for Luna. He said when Luna drove up, Vieira recognized him from a social media profile photo police had.

They met in aisle 8.

“I asked him if his name is William Luna; he said yes,” Vieira said. “I placed him under arrest.”

Dean Shalhoup can be reached at 594-1256, dshalhoup@nashuatelegraph.com, or @Telegraph_DeanS.