She Stole His Heroin, So She Was the Victim

A 19-year-old from Troy, Illinois, goes to St. Louis with his 17-year-old girlfriend to buy heroin, on which he promptly overdoses. While he is unconscious, she swipes the remaining heroin capsules from his lap. After he gets out of the hospital, he asks what happened to his heroin. She says she threw it out. Back in Troy, she snorts the heroin, overdoses, and dies. Her boyfriend is charged with "drug-induced homicide," a Class X felony punishable by 15 to 30 years in prison, because he "delivered" the heroin that killed her. On the second day of his trial, the judge throws out the charge. See if you can guess why. Hint: It's not because the defendant did not actually give his alleged victim the heroin (which she took from him without his knowledge), let alone kill her (since she snorted the heroin on her own).

Give up? The Belleville News-Democrat reports the judge "dismissed the case after the defense attorney filed a motion that the delivery of the drug happened in Missouri, so Illinois did not have jurisdiction."

If the boyfriend is culpable, what about the prohibitionists who create and maintain a black market in which drug purity is wildly unpredictable? And what kind of incentive does the law create by threatening the guy who calls 911 when his girlfriend overdoses with a 15-year prison term?

Addendum: Disappointed by the outcome of this case, State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons wants to change the definition of "drug-induced homicide" so that it applies to drugs obtained in other states.

[Thanks to Mark Sletten for the tip.]

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Mr Whipple||

    1steses

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    The bigger question is why the feds don't grab this. What's the point of having an anti-drug crusading and all powerful federal government if they can't swoop in for the easy conviction? There's got to be something in that warehouse of legislation that they can get him for.

  • Mr Whipple||

    Gimme all your money. I'll be back in an hour.

  • ||

    And what kind of incentive does the law create by threatening the guy who calls 911 when his girlfriend overdoses with a 15-year prison term?

    I was under the impression she overdosed on heroin.

  • BMFPitt||

    That is no accident. Drug warriors have gone on the record as being in favor of fatal drug overdoses, because it's good press for them.

    I'm sure I've read at least half a dozen Reason articles on the subject.

  • ||

    Perhaps, commas are an editor's best friend when not abused. Besides, my sympathies lie with the boyfriend, though nowhere in the article does it state the level of heroin in his system at the time narcan was administered. We don't know how many pills he took, nor do we know how many pills the girlfriend snagged. A simple tox screen result would be helpful here.

  • ||

    If the boyfriend is culpable, what about the prohibitionists who create and maintain a black market in which drug purity is wildly unpredictable?

    What? You think results matter more than intentions? The prohibitionists were trying to save this girl. If they actually gave a shit about how much damage is caused by their idiotic war on drugs, there wouldn't be a war on drugs. But I wouldn't mind seeing every drug warrior in the country being held responsible for her death and being sentenced to watching scenes of the destruction they've caused, A Clockwork Orange style.

  • Brandon||

    Do you really want to see group masturbation?

  • Coeus||

    I could stand to watch some.

  • Paul.||

    Give up? The Belleville News-Democrat reports the judge "dismissed the case after the defense attorney filed a motion that the delivery of the drug happened in Missouri, so Illinois did not have jurisdiction."

    So... federal charges. This is a clear Commerce Clause case.

  • ||

    FoE beat you by minutes, Paul. That's got to be embarrassing. I mean, it's one thing to get beaten by a hack like Hugh--there's honor in that--but FoE?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    They don't call me the low bar because I try to get people to use my erection for limbo contests.

  • ||

    I wish you'd stop that. Choads just don't work for limbo contests.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Obviously, I have too much class to take the bait and get drawn into a public debate with you over hugeness of my massively long rod.

  • ||

    Look, as I am totally above such juvenile disputes, I will resist the urge to note that your penis, which you have exposed to me too many times to count, looks like a coke can that's been crushed against someone's forehead.

  • Tonio||

    Nice product placement, Epi!

  • Paul.||

    I've been getting last place a shit ton lately. Age is slowing me down.

    I vote that Reason do random comment jumble and blank out the time stamps. You know, to give some of us a chance.

  • ||

    Is it time for an anti-commenter-eat-commenter rule?

  • ||

    No way. I'm fully prepared to take advantage of Paul's age and lack of speed. The weak must be culled! Let them fall by the wayside!

  • ||

    We've already established that you'd be exempt, Epi. The rule would apply to commenters, not to reprehensibly insufferable stains such as yourself.

  • ||

    But would I still get to cull people?

  • ||

    Let me be clear, if you like your current commenting plan, you could keep it.

  • ||

    could

    Notice the use of the verbiage here. Mad Scientist can honestly say that he never said you can keep your commenting plan. Did you help write ObamneyCare, MS?

  • ||

    No, I learned that from the President!

  • yonemoto||

    it's because of you that we can't have nice things. Like electoral power.

  • Brandon||

    Dibs on his monocle!

  • ||

    I claim his top hat and waistcoat in the name of Mars! Urm, isn't that lovely, hrm?

  • Coeus||

    Declaring Martian Law, are we?

  • ||

    This is a productive use of time and money, and will save this boy's life from the horrors of drug addiction. He will be able to go on and hold a job. It'll be in the prison laundry, of course, but hey--DRUGZ!

  • ||

    If the boyfriend is culpable, what about the prohibitionists who create and maintain a black market in which drug purity is wildly unpredictable?

    I love you to death Sullum, but this is total non sequitur to the case at hand. Would you prefer she overdosed with a stack of Oxy's via "plugging"?

    It's true the WoD creates horrible market incentives, but prescription drugs are that are supposed to be exactly as advertised on the tin can be subject to the occasional manufacturing and distribution error. It's rare, but it does happen.

  • ||

    How can that possibly be a non sequitur in an article about 2 overdoses that occurred with drug purchased in a black market?

    Are you one of them spoofers?

  • ||

    No, not a spoofer, JC.

    This link should help clarify.

    Also, the point of the article is the BF is being charged with the GF's stupidity. If the BF OD's and she still steals his property before the body is even potentially room temp, then caveat emptor applies. I chaulk this one up to a win for Darwin.

    Now, if Sullum has argued that premise that the lack of availability of uniform dosage for heroin was a cause for the death's of these two because of this idiotic drug war, then that statement would apply.

    That is not was Sullum was arguing. Sullum is arguing that the BF should not be charged because of the GF's stupidity.

  • BMFPitt||

    ...on which he promptly overdoses. While he is unconscious, she swipes the remaining heroin capsules from his lap.

    Darwin not being charged as an accomplice?

  • Jerry||

    That kids out there are still doing heroin, that's pretty insane.

  • ||

    Possible they thought they were using meth....which would explain the double overdose.

  • ||

    I wonder when they'll start charging parents with homicide for buying hand sanitizer.

  • Hyperion||

    The way that this country is going to shit, it is not a surprise at all.

    Unless we get every last progressive out of government at all levels, expect kids on heroin to be the norm as nothing makes sense at all anymore in a world gone completely insane. 1984, hello, we are here.

    I wouldn't bring another child into this world to be raised in this country for all of the money in the world. I am dead serious about that.

  • affenkopf||

    Thank god! We don't want another one of your kind!
    (also drug use is way down, stop being alarmist)

  • Dr. Frankenstein||

    Because of the effectivness of the drug war despite being underfunded which needs more funding because the threat of drugs has never been higher.
    amirite.

  • ||

    Ya think they would have learned something from Pulp Fiction.

    If drugs were legal in the current set-up, think of how many warning labels there would be. You'd have to plow though something close in length to a credit-card contract to get your jollies.

  • ||

    On the second day of his trial, the judge throws out the charge. See if you can guess why.

    You left out a variable...we need to know how how fast peter was driving in order to answer this question.

  • AZ||

    Are you overreading the rationale for the decision?
    Though brought up after the prosecution rested, from the story it looks like jurisdiction was the only issue to be ruled on and they never got to the questions of giving or killing.

  • varados||

    What a shame. Another lovely, young, white trash, dregs of humanity lowlife bites the dust. Raise a toast to the ancillary effectiveness of drugs as a form of eugenics.

  • affenkopf||

    Racist.

  • AlmightyJB||

    17 year old girls = nothing but trouble.

  • ||

    And you learned this how?

  • AlmightyJB||

    "Judge James Hackett shocked the courtroom Thursday afternoon when he acquitted and freed the Troy man"

    Justice is shocking?

  • BMFPitt||

    Yes.

  • Lyle||

    Haha... you're going to try and criminalize and prosecute prohibitionists. Too cute.

  • Tonio||

    No, just hold them morally accountable for the foreseeable results of the policies they advocate.

  • ||

    Under the "logic" the prosecution displayed in this case, there's literally no such thing as being innocent of a crime.

    Everybody has some sort of connection, no matter how tenuous, to a criminal act.

    Your mother's friend's cousin's roomie shoplifted? CRIMINAL CONSPIRACY!

    If I mug a guy, steal his wallet, use the money in it to buy a gun and murder someone with it, the victim of the mugging would be guilty of felony murder, going by the prosecution's "logic".

    Crazy.

  • ||

    Definitely a feature if you want to get back at the cool kids who laughed at you in high school.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement