MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – 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 Paul Scoggin found Beverly Burrell, of Maplewood, guilty of third-degree murder in the death of Lucas Ronnei. The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office says the judge’s verdict was filed late Tuesday.
Burrell is also charged with third-degree murder in the deaths of four other men. Investigators say she sold them heroin laced with fentanyl, the powerful drug that led to Prince’s overdose last April.
In his guilty verdict, Scoggin said he found the testimony of Ronnei’s friends and family credible when they said the 20-year-old bought heroin from Burrell the night before he overdosed.
While Burrell’s defense argued that no one saw Ronnei inject the heroin, and thereby no one can be certain the fatal dose was the substance Burrell sold him, the judge concluded that the timeline makes it highly unlikely Ronnei bought the drugs from another dealer.
Burrell faces up to 25 years in prison for Ronnei’s death. She faces the same penalty if found guilty in the deaths of the four other men. Three of those the cases are being prosecuted in Hennepin County.