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Death, drugs and rock 'n' roll, Part II

Warren Ullom: A talented musician's recovery, incarceration and swan song



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Less than a month after their interview with Batman, investigators received the cell phone records they'd requested on Warren Ullom. In the two weeks leading up to June 6, 2008, he'd traded 90 calls with the busted heroin dealer.

And it would turn out that, following those four Fulton County fatalities in which heroin played a role, Rachel had been the next to die.

It was only after the toxicology results came back that investigators could determine how great a role Warren might have played in her death.

The toxicologist discovered heroin, alcohol and an unusually large amount of cocaine in her blood. He concluded that she was alive for at least an hour after the cocaine entered her body. The question was, could investigators prove Warren administered the cocaine without her knowledge or consent?

The answer arrived in October 2008, when Sweet walked into the federal building downtown offering to tell investigators everything he knew about the events surrounding Rachel's death. He described all of it: How he got to know Warren over the past year by selling him blow; how he introduced him to Batman when he learned Warren was into heroin; how Warren called him for help when Rachel ODed; how Warren tried to revive her with cocaine and CPR; and how Warren tried to keep the paramedics away until it was too late.

He later would show authorities the text from Warren — sent at 7:33 a.m. on June 6, 2008 — that read: "she is better no ambulance."

Sweet himself could have been prosecuted. But the fact that he voluntarily came forward and incriminated himself helped him avoid that, according to his lawyers. Sweet also agreed to call Warren several times while the feds monitored the conversation with the hope of getting Warren to open up about Rachel's death. On one occasion, Sweet met with Warren while wearing a wire. According to his attorney, John Nuckolls: "The U.S. Attorney's office saw that in order to get to the truth, there needed to be some special consideration for him."

The final autopsy report was issued shortly after Sweet turned government witness. By then, investigators and the coroner's office were ready to make a call on the level of Warren's responsibility: "Because Ms. San Inocencio's death was due to the actions of another individual," the autopsy states, "the method of death is classified as a homicide."

To round out its investigation, the government needed one more witness: Warren's now-former girlfriend. The two had been living together at the time of Rachel's death, and the ex had been sitting for months on a valuable piece of information.

Warren's girlfriend had left town hours before Rachel showed up at the apartment, but she'd left Warren money to cover his heroin addiction for the weekend. The plan was for him to try to get clean when she returned from her trip.

Warren had called his girlfriend several times the night of Rachel's death, and in November 2008, she recounted to police Warren's concern that the ODing woman had stopped breathing.

But the most interesting information she shared had to do with a pair of princess-cut diamond earrings. According to his ex, Warren showed her the earrings a few days after Rachel's death. He allegedly told her that the earrings belonged to an old flame and that they should pawn them. She agreed.

Warren's defense team vehemently denies her claim. They counter that it was the ex who came to Warren with the earrings, presumably after she found them in the apartment, and told him they were her grandmother's.

One thing is clear: On June 9, 2008, Rachel's earrings were pawned. Investigator Gunter visited the Buckhead pawnshop where the diamond studs were traded for $400. It turns out a surveillance camera perched outside had captured footage of Warren and the girlfriend walking into the store. The girlfriend's name was on the receipt, which was dated three days after Rachel's death and several days before Rachel's sister, Pamela, called Warren looking for the earrings.

In January 2009, two months after the interview with Warren's ex, Gunter and a team of fellow officers showed up at the Inman Park condo where one of Warren's bandmates lived. His father answered the door. Gunter asked if Warren was there. The man said he was.

Warren was sitting at the kitchen table, typing on a computer. Gunter ordered that he stand up. Warren complied, and was placed under arrest for distribution of heroin and cocaine, theft by taking, and the murder of Rachel San Inocencio.

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