Last updated: March 28. 2014 5:06PM - 11408 Views
By Sanford Schmidt sschmidt@civitasmedia.com



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ALTON — An Alton woman has pleaded guilty to one count of drug-induced homicide after she was accused of giving a fatal dose of heroin to a 34-year-old male victim.


Mary Ellen Johnson, 28, of the 800 block of Washington Avenue, pleaded guilty Thursday to a count of drug induced homicide, in exchange for a an eight-year prison term and a prosecution agreement to drop a charge of unlawful delivery of a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a school, East Elementary School.


Police said that she went to St. Louis in July to buy heroin, which she gave to the victim, Michael Johnson, who injected the drug. They two were not related.


Paramedics were called to Johnson’s home on July 11 and found Johnson’s body. He was pronounced dead at the scene.


Drug-induced homicide is a Class X felony, with a maximum penalty of up to 30 years in prison. Johnson will have to serve at least 75 percent of her sentence.


Johnson was the second suspect to plead guilty this year to drug-induced homicide.


Debra Nelson, 42, pleaded guilty to drug-induced homicide in the death of 19-year-old Dylan Hartman, whose body was found by a family member in his Granite City home in December 2012. The prosecution agreed to drop a charge of possession of liquid methadone.


Authorities are also investigating the possible drug-induced homicide death of a woman found passed out at the wheel of a U-Haul van in February in South Roxana. The case is still under investigation.


Sanford J. Schmidt can be reached at 618-463-2558 or Twitter @sanfordjschmidt.


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