Couple held at $1 million bail on charge of murdering Bellingham teen by heroin overdose

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDFebruary 27, 2014 

BELLINGHAM - Bail has been set at $1 million for two women accused of making a teenager overdose on heroin so they could steal his bank card.

Nichole Star Coggins, 27, took deep breaths and shielded her face from a news camera at her first appearance in a Whatcom County courtroom Thursday afternoon, Feb. 27.

She and her on-and-off partner, Lucy Lillian Pearson, 33, face charges of selling a lethal dose of heroin to William Viktor Litvin in the early-morning hours of Oct. 5, 2013.

Coggins wrote a text at 4:17 a.m. to Pearson: "baby getting him so high he passes out or knock him out and we will hit the atm" (sic), according to charges filed last week. Two minutes later security footage captured Litvin, Coggins and Pearson withdrawing cash at an ATM on Holly Street.

Together they walked to Franklin Park, where they shot up heroin and looked at the stars, according to the charges. Neighbors found Litvin dead in the morning. An autopsy showed he had cocaine, opiates, marijuana and alcohol in his bloodstream. He was 19.

Bank records revealed Litvin's credit card was used 41 times after his death. A Bellingham police detective, Jana Bouzek, found security footage of two women - identified as Coggins and Pearson - swiping the card at a McDonald's, a car wash and a gas station. They spent more than $1,000 in two days, according to the county prosecutor's affidavit filed last week.

Pearson, who has six felonies on her record, has been in Whatcom County Jail on warrants since mid-February. U.S. Marshals arrested Coggins at a rehab center in Yakima on Feb. 21, the same day charges were filed. She was transferred to the local jail Wednesday.

Both women face charges of second-degree murder because they committed a felony - second-degree theft - that led to Litvin's death, said Prosecutor Dave McEachran. They're also charged with identity theft.

Litvin, an honor student in high school in Chelan, briefly studied at Western Washington University. He last enrolled in classes in spring 2013.

Reach Caleb Hutton at 360-715-2276 or caleb.hutton@bellinghamherald.com. Read his Dispatcher Blog at bellinghamherald.com/dispatcher-blog or follow him on Twitter at @bhamcrime.

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