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Man charged with homicide and drug charges from fatal overdose

A Wisconsin man was arrested on May 23 on drug charges related to the death of a 26-year-old Fredonia resident. Police allege that the accused sold heroin and/or cocaine to the deceased, who then fatally overdosed on the drugs. According to the Ozaukee County Sheriff's Office, the accused has been charged with first-degree reckless homicide, conspiracy to deliver heroin and cocaine and delivery of heroin and cocaine.

On May 9, sheriff's deputies and investigators responded to a call to a Fredonia home where they found the 26-year-old man dead. An autopsy later showed that he died of an overdose of heroin and/or cocaine. An investigation by the Sheriff's Detective Bureau and a Multijurisdictional Drug Task Force led police to the 30-year-old suspect, whom police believe sold the drugs to the deceased.

The accused is being charged under the Len Bias law, which was named after the University of Maryland basketball star who died of a drug overdose in 1986. After Bias's death, Wisconsin and a number of other states adopted federal laws that allowed drug dealers to be held criminally responsible for any deaths or injuries suffered by the drugs they sold.

Drug charges can always lead to serious consequences, but under the Len Bias law, the penalties can be much more severe if the drugs lead to a death or serious injury. Penalties for reckless homicide and drug distribution charges can include lengthy prison time. A criminal defense attorney with experience handling drug charges and charges under this law could help accused individuals by examining the details of the charges and determining whether the charges are consistent with the alleged crime. An attorney could also advocate on behalf of the accused to avoid conviction, negotiate for reduced charges or minimize the penalties resulting from a conviction.

Source: Wauwatosa Patch, "Wauwatosa Man Accused of Supplying Drugs in Overdose Death", Jim Price, May 22, 2013

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