MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Twin Cities drug dealer has learned her punishment for killing two young men with heroin.
In court Thursday afternoon, parents shared their heartbreak over the addiction that tore their families apart.
Beverly Burrell was found guilty of third-degree murder in the overdose deaths of Max Tillitt and Luke Ronnei.
She goes on trial in the deaths of three more men soon.
WCCO-TV has been following this case since a mother pushed police to get Burrell’s heroin off the streets.
It was an emotional day in court, nearly two years in the making.
From Eden Prairie to Chanhassen, St. Paul to St. Cloud, investigators say the fentanyl-laced heroin Beverly Burrell sold killed five men in a matter of seven months.
On Thursday, the 31-year-old was sentenced to a total of 14 years in prison for the deaths of two of them.
“There’s really no way to adequately put into words what it’s like to lose a child,” Colleen Ronnei said.
The same drug that cost Prince his life brought three more families together in the opioid crisis.
Luke Ronnie, 20, turned his heroin dealer into his mom the day after he heard of Max Tillitt’s death.
“I think he instinctively knew that if the person responsible for Max’s death was held accountable then someone else might not die,” Colleen Ronnei said.
But Luke, the handsome and kind young man did die three months later.
“It replays in my mind multiple times each day of finding our son unconscious and then the medical team bringing him down the stairs in a body bag,” Dave Ronnei said.
Max Tillitt’s family believes it’s time fighting this epidemic focuses on the demand not the supply.
He’s calling it a health system failure and requesting that the justice system use Burrell as a candidate for reform.
Steve Tillitt asked Judge Paul Scoggin to run her sentences concurrently, so as to get her out of prison sooner.
“But what we really want is Ms. Burrell to never sell dangerous drugs of any kind again,” Steve Tillitt said.
In court, Burrell promised the judge she never would as she wiped away tears. However, she never once said she was sorry.
“I’m asking for another chance,” she said. “I am a good person and I am not a monster.”
The judge decided to run the seven-year sentence for each man consecutively, or back-to-back, keeping Burrell in prison for 14 years.
Two more trials for Burrell start in Hennepin County in December.
Sherburne County has the other case, involving a former U.S. Marine, whose death investigators also blame on Burrell’s drugs.