Drug charge claims: Homicide dismissed over jurisdictional issues

A case in Madison County has taken a positive turn for a man accused in the death of a young woman. The man had been facing drug charges after a 17-year-old girl passed away from a drug overdose. The man had allegedly given the teen the drugs that lead to her death.

The drug charge dismissal came after a motion was filed showing the heroin delivery apparently occurred in another state and the state of Illinois had no jurisdiction to prosecute.

The incident occurred on Jan. 11, 2011. The man, accompanied by two females, had allegedly purchased heroin from a residence in St. Louis. Shortly after the purchase, the man ingested four "buttons" of heroin. Immediately following the hits he passed out. He had to be taken to the hospital and administered a drug to counter his opiate overdose. According to records, the man came close to dying.

In a panic, one of the female passengers disposed of her heroin buttons out the vehicle's window. She thought that the other passenger also disposed of her drugs. It was later found out she in fact had kept some of the heroin.

Later the same evening, the man spent the night at the victim's parent's house, along with the victim. The 17-year-old who apparently had not thrown the drugs out decided to take the drugs she had retained. She sent a text message to the other female passenger telling her that she had kept her heroin and had just taken "a button-and-a-half."

The following morning the man on trial discovered her body and attempted to revive her. He contacted 911, but it was too late and she was pronounced dead by medical personnel.

Facing a drug charge is no easy matter, but when it escalates into a homicide allegation, all the chips are on the table. Here, it was successfully argued that drugs were obtained in the state of Missouri, which prevented the state of Illinois from prosecuting the crime.

As stated by the defendant's attorney, in order to prove the homicide allegation, Illinois law requires prosecutors to prove that the drug purchase both occurred in Illinois and the man on trial actually bought the drugs responsible for the young woman's death. In this case, the man had faced a severe prison sentence if he had been convicted of the charges against him but the prosecutor ultimately could not prove the elements of the crime charged because the facts did not fit the statute.

Source: The Edwardsville Intelligencer, "Heroin death case dismissed," Steve Horrell, May 11, 2012

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