Alleged dealer charged with homicide after former football player’s overdose; dad finds body at Bellevue home

A Seattle man accused of selling heroin to a former Issaquah football player who overdosed was charged with homicide. Prosecutors say that Adam Pepka, age 20, sold Zachary Lyter the drugs that killed him. His father found the 19-year-old's body at their Bellevue home May 4.

A Seattle man accused of selling heroin to a former Issaquah football player who overdosed was charged with homicide.

Prosecutors say that Adam Pepka, age 20, sold Zachary Lyter the drugs that killed him. His father found the 19-year-old’s body at their Bellevue home May 4.

The charges, controlled substance homicide, are similar to manslaughter and could come with four to five and a half years in prison.

It’s the first time in a few years prosecutors have filed this type of charge in King County.

Prosecutors say that after Lyter died, Pepka acknowledge that he had sold him drugs over text message, and he continued to sell drugs, according to court documents.

“Pepka also attempted to minimize his involvement at times by indicating that he was just the middle man in the transactions and that Lyter also assumed the risk that can be involved in heroin use,” wrote Deputy Prosecutor Mary Barbosa.

A 17-year-old girl who used the drugs with Lyter that night, named Pepka in this case.

Lyter, who had reportedly been abusing drugs for a few years, contacted Pepka May 3 to buy $60 of heroin. They agreed to meet at the Burger King in Issaquah.

A series of text messages purportedly showed how the deal was setup.

“How long till you’re here,” Lyter wrote. “My friend I’m with gotta go very soon.”

“Soon bro, just chill,” Pepka allegedly wrote. “Getting off the exit now.”

The girl told police she gave Lyter money for the drugs, before he allegedly got into Pepka’s Toyota Corolla and completed the deal.

Thirty minutes later, Lyter texted Pepka one more time.

“Props once again, bro, love THS stuff.”

Prosectors say Lyter then prepared and injected himself with some of the newly purchased drug at the parking lot.

He drove the girl to his home, where they both took more of the drug together. Police found numerous drug accessories in Lyter’s bedroom, including syringes and a cooking device.

After Lyter’s death, a team of detectives began surveillance on Pepka. They watched him drop off a man at Mountlake Terrace. He reportedly told police that he had bought drugs from Pepka in the past and had used drugs with him. He also said he had given him $40 that day to buy drugs, according to the documents.

Barbosa asked the judge to set Pepka’s bail at $50,000, because “while the defendant appears to have no criminal history, he continues to engage in the sale of narcotics.”

Issaquah Reporter Staff Writer Celeste Gracey can be reached at or 425-391-0363.

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