Sunday, February 19, 2006

Another WSLS weatherman admits struggle with heroin

Note from Steve: This is post 2000 and it's a doozy.

By Lindsey Nair and Marques G. Harper
The Roanoke Times

ROANOKE, Va. - Not one, but two WSLS (Channel 10) meteorologists -- Marc Lamarre and Jamey Singleton -- have struggled with a heroin addiction in recent months, according to an interview with Singleton that aired on WSLS's late-night newscast Friday.

"Anyone can fall into this," Singleton said. "It's hard, it's a disease and it's been rough."

Singleton said he has undergone therapy for his dependency and feels as if he has conquered it for the most part.

"You never recover, I don't think," he said, "but I've put the beast to sleep, so to speak."

Singleton said the toughest part of his ordeal was finding out that his friend and neighbor, Lamarre, 36, suffered a near-fatal heroin overdose on the evening of Feb. 2. Lamarre is recovering, according to WSLS, but he is no longer employed with the station.

Last week, though, Lamarre spoke to the station by phone and offered a thank-you message for viewers who have supported him.

Lamarre's overdose became public after news broke last week that Gilbert Dennis Hadden, 21, of Detroit, is being held on federal charges of conspiracy to distribute heroin and distribution of heroin. Hadden's attorney, Greg Phillips, confirmed that his client is "a dealer who is involved in a conspiracy where Marc Lamarre was supplied heroin," adding that he believes others were also involved.

According to WSLS, Singleton will testify in the federal case against Hadden and had been working with his attorney to determine how to react once news of his involvement was made public. But WSLS reported Friday that it cannot comment on the investigation itself.

Singleton did not give the weather forecast Friday because he was the subject of a news story on the same broadcast. WSLS news director Shane Moreland said on the air Friday that he wants to put Singleton, who joined the station in 1998, on the air again. But the popular meteorologist may be missing from the show on other occasions as the investigation plays out "so he's not distracted by it and so we're not distracted by it," Moreland said.

"We're taking it day by day," Moreland said in a telephone interview. "He's working with his attorneys and the federal folks."

In the near future, Moreland said viewers might see a temporary face or two delivering the weather along with meteorologist Jeff Haniewich. A possible substitute was still being figured out as of Friday, Moreland said.

WSLS's story stressed that neither Lamarre nor Singleton has been charged with any crime in connection with the case. Heidi Coy, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Roanoke, said Friday that she could neither confirm nor deny Singleton's involvement in the investigation.

According to a federal affidavit filed in Roanoke on Feb. 5, Roanoke Fire-EMS and Roanoke police responded Feb. 2 to an apartment in Southwest Roanoke in response to a reported overdose. There, they found a man with no pulse, but they were able to revive him before taking him to Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital.

The affidavit states that three confidential sources have cooperated with the Drug Enforcement Administration's investigation of the case.

One source said he or she knew Lamarre had a past addiction to heroin, knew he had purchased heroin from a man and provided a location in Southwest Roanoke where the deals frequently occurred. That same source said he or she and Lamarre had obtained heroin together at that address and that Lamarre had told him or her on Feb. 2 that he wanted to get some heroin.

A second confidential source provided authorities with a detailed description of the dealer and gave them the dealer's cellphone number. The second source agreed to contact the distributor and arrange a meeting, which is where Hadden was arrested.

A third source told authorities that he or she had simply driven Hadden to the site of his arrest and had no knowledge of the drug deal.

In his interview with his employer Friday, Singleton said he was sure that news of his addiction would come as a shock to viewers, but he wanted to "now let the viewers know that I'm human, too, and people make mistakes."

Singleton added that the thought of picking up the habit again does not cross his mind.

"In essence, I feel like I've turned my life around," he said.


  1. Thanks Weil. I'd do it even if nobody paid attention, but it's nice to know that folks are reading my blog.