Murder Charge Filed In Death Of 2017 West Johnston High Graduate

A person accused of providing heroin to a Benson teenager who overdosed and died from the illegal drug last month has now been charged with his murder.

Friday morning, the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office arrested 24 year-old Joshua John Novak of Beulah Melton Drive, Willow Spring for second degree murder in the August 10th death of 18 year-old Justin “Cole” Bennett of Saddle Ridge Drive.

Authorities said Bennett died as the result of ingesting heroin. Detectives allege the heroin from the fatal overdose was distributed by Novak.

Cole Bennett was a 2017 graduate of West Johnston High. He was also a member of Lighthouse Baptist Church of Benson.

Sheriff’s Captain Jeff Caldwell said no additional details about the incident would be released because of the ongoing investigation.

Novak was convicted in March 2017 for habitual breaking and entering and felony obtaining property by false pretenses stemming from a February 23rd break-in on Beulah Melton Drive where a small amount of property was taken.  He was sentenced to 12 months probation according to the NC Department of Corrections website.

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  • sangriagirl

    sure wish the town of smithfield would get all the drug dealers out!!

  • Dakota Chisolm

    Amen….. thank you Johnston co. Sheriff!
    He was my Nephew… great job!

  • Valarie Thau Slocum

    Thank you JO.CO. Sheriffs dept. Cole was an amazing young man. He wanted to do so many great things. We miss him every day!

  • Ryan Harrison

    I realize this is a bad situation but how can you charge someone with murder. He didn’t make the kid take the drug or even overdose on it. Isn’t it the same if someone drinks alcohol and dies from alcohol poisoning because they decided to over indulge. You don’t charge the store employee who sold it to them or the company that provided the alcohol. I keep reading how this was a good kid. Guess what good kids don’t do heroin

    • 3jwells

      Good kids do make bad decisions. By God’s grace may your family never have to deal with such, but many families do.

      • Ryan Harrison

        Your missing the point if my question. Why should the drug dealer be charged with murder. He can’t force someone to buy and use his product. Are we going to start charging cashiers with murder that sell alcohol to someone that decided to over indulge and die from alcohol poisoning. Just because ones legal and ones not it’s the exact same thing. Once you have purchased something like that it’s yours. You don’t just stick around. You go home or where ever it is you choose to use your “product.” It is no longer any other persons responsibility but your own has to how much you use or drink.

        On the other hand how do you know he’s the only person that sold heroin to the kid. Hell he could have bought a little from this guy and a little from that guy. You’ll never know. But now because of the stupidity of one someone else’s life will be ruined as well.

        • 3jwells

          You are right; I didn’t address the point of your question, because I was addressing the personal attack you made against the young man who overdosed. I don’t care what your opinion is regarding the charges against the drug dealer.

          • Ryan Harrison

            Your right good kids do make bad decisions and I’m not personally attacking anyone. I’m simply asking and trying to understand how a murder charge against the drug dealer is ok. It’s not an “opinion” it’s a question. Again how about when a kid steals prescription drugs from a parent and they overdose and die is the child’s parent gonna get charged with murder?

          • 3jwells

            Maybe they should. Gun owners are charged if guns are not locked up as they should be and a child discharges it.

            The charges will be reduced to manslaughter for this guy anyway. You know they always start high. But, I do believe the drug dealer does hold some responsibility. Whether directly or indirectly, he contributed to the death of this young man.

  • David Linkous

    this is a start to charging these people. Great job JCSO.

  • Ryan Harrison

    Clearly reading comprehension has escaped you, I was not defending nor attacking either person in the situation. Legality of substance is irrevelvent, I simply asked a question about how a murder charge can be brought upon the dealer. Say it was oxycontin instead of heroin, if a person steals oxys from a parent or friend and overdoses on them, can or should the person who’s drugs were stolen (because technically they supplied the drug) be charged with murder? It seems that your both to close to the family to have an objective view on the situation, and getting to hung up on the actual substance the person died from. It saddens me that in this day and age everyone talks about acceptance and understanding, yet you feel the need to attempt to personally attack me because you dislike or don’t approve of a question I have.

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  • sangriagirl

    sure wish the town of smithfield would get all the drug dealers out!!

  • Dakota Chisolm

    Amen….. thank you Johnston co. Sheriff!
    He was my Nephew… great job!

  • Valarie Thau Slocum

    Thank you JO.CO. Sheriffs dept. Cole was an amazing young man. He wanted to do so many great things. We miss him every day!

  • Ryan Harrison

    I realize this is a bad situation but how can you charge someone with murder. He didn’t make the kid take the drug or even overdose on it. Isn’t it the same if someone drinks alcohol and dies from alcohol poisoning because they decided to over indulge. You don’t charge the store employee who sold it to them or the company that provided the alcohol. I keep reading how this was a good kid. Guess what good kids don’t do heroin

    • 3jwells

      Good kids do make bad decisions. By God’s grace may your family never have to deal with such, but many families do.

      • Ryan Harrison

        Your missing the point if my question. Why should the drug dealer be charged with murder. He can’t force someone to buy and use his product. Are we going to start charging cashiers with murder that sell alcohol to someone that decided to over indulge and die from alcohol poisoning. Just because ones legal and ones not it’s the exact same thing. Once you have purchased something like that it’s yours. You don’t just stick around. You go home or where ever it is you choose to use your “product.” It is no longer any other persons responsibility but your own has to how much you use or drink.

        On the other hand how do you know he’s the only person that sold heroin to the kid. Hell he could have bought a little from this guy and a little from that guy. You’ll never know. But now because of the stupidity of one someone else’s life will be ruined as well.

        • 3jwells

          You are right; I didn’t address the point of your question, because I was addressing the personal attack you made against the young man who overdosed. I don’t care what your opinion is regarding the charges against the drug dealer.

          • Ryan Harrison

            Your right good kids do make bad decisions and I’m not personally attacking anyone. I’m simply asking and trying to understand how a murder charge against the drug dealer is ok. It’s not an “opinion” it’s a question. Again how about when a kid steals prescription drugs from a parent and they overdose and die is the child’s parent gonna get charged with murder?

          • 3jwells

            Maybe they should. Gun owners are charged if guns are not locked up as they should be and a child discharges it.

            The charges will be reduced to manslaughter for this guy anyway. You know they always start high. But, I do believe the drug dealer does hold some responsibility. Whether directly or indirectly, he contributed to the death of this young man.

  • David Linkous

    this is a start to charging these people. Great job JCSO.

  • Ryan Harrison

    Clearly reading comprehension has escaped you, I was not defending nor attacking either person in the situation. Legality of substance is irrevelvent, I simply asked a question about how a murder charge can be brought upon the dealer. Say it was oxycontin instead of heroin, if a person steals oxys from a parent or friend and overdoses on them, can or should the person who’s drugs were stolen (because technically they supplied the drug) be charged with murder? It seems that your both to close to the family to have an objective view on the situation, and getting to hung up on the actual substance the person died from. It saddens me that in this day and age everyone talks about acceptance and understanding, yet you feel the need to attempt to personally attack me because you dislike or don’t approve of a question I have.