Originally created 07/09/02

Police suspect drug led to man's death



Richmond County authorities say they are investigating the possibility that an Oxy-Contin overdose led to the death of Bernard J. "Buz" Mulherin Jr., the son of a local Superior Court judge.

Maj. Ken Autry, of the Richmond County Sheriff's Office, said Monday that Mr. Mulherin, 43, was found dead in his home on Heard Avenue on June 22, but a cause of death is pending toxicology results. In recent days, authorities have been trying to determine whether Mr. Mulherin ob-tained OxyContin prior to his death, the sheriff's major said.

OxyContin is a prescription painkiller often abused by drug addicts. It was responsible for at least two overdose deaths in Richmond County last year in cases that were eventually labeled homicides.

In the past few weeks, investigators in the violent crimes division have been conducting interviews of those who knew Mr. Mulherin, the son of Augusta Judicial Circuit Superior Court Senior Judge Bernard J. Mulherin Sr.

According to a sheriff's report, Roderick Blakes of Jackson called police after discovering Mr. Mulherin sitting dead on his couch at 9:30 p.m. June 22. Deputies found drug paraphernalia in Mr. Mulherin's home, including needles, Maj. Autry said.

Reach Greg Rickabaugh at (706) 828-3851 or greg.rickabaugh@augustachronicle.com.