Man charged under Len Bias law
A 24-year-old Delafield man has been charged with first-degree reckless homicide for allegedly providing a powerful opiate medication to a Kettle Moraine High School graduate found dead by friends of an overdose in December.
Ryan H. Tentoni was charged March 22 in Waukesha County Circuit Court under what is commonly referred to as the Len Bias law in the death of 24-year-old Delafield resident Wayne G. Wilson.
Named after college basketball player Len Bias, who died of a cocaine overdose in 1986, the 1989 Wisconsin law allows the state to prosecute dealers who provide drugs to those who later die of an overdose.
Waukesha County District Attorney Brad Schimel previously said he is using the law aggressively to curb opiate abuse in the county. According to criminal records, seven people were charged under the law in 2012 and four people were charged in 2011.
If convicted, Tentoni could face up to 40 years in prison and $100,000 in fines.
According to the criminal complaint, City of Delafield Police were dispatched to 938 Sunset Drive at 8 p.m. Dec. 5, 2012, after receiving reports of an overdose death. Amanda Lia and Cody Krause, friends of Wilson, led police to a back bedroom, where the 24-year-old was found dead lying in bed.
Krause and Lia told police that Wilson had a history of opiate addiction, and they had gone to his house after he failed to show up for work, the complaint said.
Wilson graduated from Kettle Moraine High School in 2006 and was attending the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater at the time of his death.
An autopsy performed at the Waukesha County Medical Examiner's office revealed that Wilson had a clear plastic patch stuck to his lips, identified by the examiner as a 100-microgram per hour fentanyl patch. According to drugs.com, fentanyl is a powerful opiate medication, commonly prescribed to patients who have built up a tolerance to other narcotics or suffer from cancer-related pain. The medicine exists in both tablet form or as a patch that is affixed to the patient's skin, providing a steady dose of the drug over a period of time. The medical examiner told police that 100 micrograms per hour of fentanyl was an "extremely high dosage."
A preliminary toxicology test came back positive for amphetamines, opiates and benzodiazepines, but fentanyl intoxication was determined to be the cause of death. According to drugs.com, benzodiazepine is a psychoactive drug used as a sedative, hypnotic and muscle relaxant, commonly known under the brand names Xanax and Valium. Amphetamine is a stimulant, commonly found in brand-name drugs such as Adderall or Vyvanse.
Police recovered Wilson's phone from the scene of the overdose. An officer performing forensic analysis downloaded several messages sent between Wilson and Tentoni the day before his death, the complaint said.
Wilson sent a text message to Tentoni shortly after noon Dec. 4 that stated: "We getting today?!" Tentoni told Wilson he would be getting "patches" later in the evening, the complaint said.
Tentoni allegedly provided Wilson with the fentanyl patch at about 7 p.m. that night and, through text message, coached Wilson on how to use it for maximum potency.
"Suck on them!" Tentoni texted Wilson. "…You are removing the medicine quicker than if it is on [your] skin. Usually only lasts 24hrs."
According to the complaint, police said the instructions provided by Tentoni corresponded with how the patch was positioned on Wilson's body when he was found.
At an initial court hearing Monday, March 25, Tentoni posted a $10,000 cash bond and was ordered by Judge Kathryn Foster to undergo an alcohol and other drug addiction (AODA) assessment.
Tentoni's next expected court date is May 9.
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