Published: Thu, May 25, 2017
Medicine | By Earnest Bishop

Maplewood woman found guilty in overdose death of Chanhassen man

Maplewood woman found guilty in overdose death of Chanhassen man

A Hennepin County District Court judge has found a woman accused in several overdose deaths guilty of at least one murder for selling heroin to a 20-year-old Chanhassen man who fatally overdosed just hours after the transaction. Judge Scoggins heard a second case against Burrell at the same time, but will not render a verdict on that one until closing arguments are heard July 3.

Judge Paul Scoggin found Beverly Burrell, of Maplewood, guilty of third-degree murder in the death of Lucas Ronnei. Three of those the cases are being prosecuted in Hennepin County.

Ronnei's friend testified he or she picked him up January 6 and drove him to a Minneapolis restaurant parking lot, where the friend bought heroin from Burrell with money provided by Ronnei, according to the release. There, the friend met with Burrell, bought heroin with money from Ronnei and then drove Ronnei home, Freeman said in his statement. But when they entered his room at 11:30 a.m., they found him unconscious and unresponsive. His parents testified that they were suspicious that Ronnei had taken heroin and planned to take him to the doctor the next day. The medical examiner ruled that Ronnei's death was accidental and caused by heroin toxicity. "Once Ronnei was home from the purchase of heroin, he was within sight or earshot of his parents until he died".

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Burrell's attorney Craig Cascarano said they intend to appeal the verdict.

"Obviously we're disappointed", he said, "And we believe there was sufficient evidence for the judge to conclude that Mr. Ronnei may have purchased drugs from someone other than Beverly Burrell that precipitated his death".

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