A Morton man was arrested Monday night on charges he allegedly supplied the drugs which contributed to another man’s death in January.
Tazewell County state’s attorney Stu Umholtz said his office has filed a two-count charge against 26-year-old Robert J. Kessler for allegedly contributing to the January drug overdose death of 26-year-old Thomas Thompson Jr.
The first charge is drug-induced homicide, alleging that Kessler knowingly and unlawfully delivered a controlled substance — methadone — to Thompson, which is a violation of the Illinois Controlled Substances Act.
The charge also reads the ingestion of the controlled substance was the cause of death for Thompson.
Umholtz said this is a class X felony that carries with it a mandatory sentence, if convicted, of a minimum of six years in prison to a maximum of 30 years.
The second charge is unlawful delivery of a controlled substance, alleging that Kessler delivered a substance containing methadone to Thompson on Jan. 4.
Unlawful delivery is a class 2 felony.
County coroner Dennis Conover revealed during a March inquest that Thompson died of a combination of cocaine, amphetamines and methadone in his system.
At the inquest, Sgt. Jason Miller of Morton Police Department testified Thompson had asked Kessler, a heroin addict who uses methadone for his recovery, if he could purchase the substance from him for $20.
Thompson was found unresponsive at his parents’ home the next morning.
Umholtz said his office will ask for a bond of $150,000 for Kessler, and he would have to post $15,000 to be released.
Umholtz said the case is an important issue for his office because of the high number of drug overdose deaths in Tazewell County.
“We can’t bring this family’s son back, but if this would ever cause someone to hesitate about delivering a substance to another individual, then we have been successful,” Umholtz said.
Thompson’s identical twin brother, Tim, said he was at work Monday when he received the news of Kessler’s arrest.
“I was elated and emotional and started crying right there at work,” Tim said.
Although Umholtz said his office has completed its investigation, Tim said he believes others could be implicated.
“My hope is his defense brings other people out of their hiding spots and eventually it all comes to light. Many of the people involved with this didn’t give out true statements to police,” Tim said.
Thompson’s father, Thomas Sr., said he hoped a female acquaintance of his son’s, Jennifer Parr, would have some charges brought against her in his son’s death.
Police have testified Parr accompanied Thompson to Kessler’s home and warned Thompson not to take very much methadone after purchasing it.
Page 2 of 2 - Thompson’s brother and father have also accused Parr of selling him crack cocaine and depleting his bank account.
“Jennifer Parr seems to be getting away scot-free. I think she started all this stuff with the drugs,” Thomas Sr. said.
Just five days after Thompson’s death, Parr was stopped by Morton police on charges of driving under the influence of alcohol, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession/sale of a hypodermic needle, illegal transportation of alcohol and driving with a suspended/revoked driver’s license.
Thomas Sr. said he was very emotional when Sgt. Miller called him about an hour after Kessler’s arrest on Monday, but he also sympathizes with everyone involved.
“I am relieved in a sense because someone is being held responsible, but I’m sad for the Kessler family, too, because it’s their son. I have a bad feeling there will be a plea bargain, but I hope not,” Thomas Sr. said.
Kessler’s first court appearance is set for June 18 at Tazewell County Courthouse.