Drug dealers beware: Selling even a small amount of heroin in Hennepin County can get you charged with murder.
Yesterday Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman held a press conference to trumpet third-degree murder charges brought against Anthony Allyn Simons and James Marione Butchee for selling a $40 bag of heroin that caused the death of a man in Maple Grove last summer. Simons and Butchee could spend up to 25 years in prison.
This marks the seventh and eighth time Freeman has brought a murder charge stemming from an overdose death since 2011.
"When it's appropriate and we're able to we will absolutely charge for a third-degree murder," said Hennepin County Attorney spokesperson Ashley Schweitzer.
Simons was arrested for arranging the sale and Butchee was arrested for selling the heroin outside of the Chipotle on Hennepin Avenue in Minneapolis.
According to the charges:
The deceased man and two of his friends, including Simons, drove to Chipotle on the night of July 11 to buy heroin from Butchee. Simons arranged the sale because he knew Butchee and could get $50 worth of heroin for $40.
Simons bought the heroin and the three returned to the deceased man's house in Maple Grove. After the deceased man shot up, he began acting bizarrely, stripped naked and couldn't follow conversation. Simons left first, then the other friend left around 11:45 p.m.
The next day Maple Grove police found the overdose victim dead in his basement with a needle, tourniquet, and piece of paper with heroin residue nearby. The Hennepin County medical examiner determined the cause of death to be a heroin overdose.
After speaking with one of the friends who was with the deceased man on July 11 police set up a sting. They watched Butchee sell heroin to an unnamed person and arrested Butchee after the unnamed person picked him out of a lineup.