St. Paul man charged with murder in heroin overdose


 A St. Paul man has been charged with murder for supplying the heroin that caused an overdose, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Wednesday.

Garyegus Lealexandar Cooper, 38, who appeared in court yesterday, was charged with one count of third-degree murder for the sale of a controlled substance in the overdose of a 33-year-old man.

According to the criminal complaint, the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Department was called to the scene of a death at an Orono home on June 25 2016. The deputies found the victim fully clothed, lying on the floor of his bedroom.

The complaint states that there was no sign of trauma, but there was drug paraphernalia near his body, including a lighter and a spoon that appeared to contain narcotics. There were also needles and a plastic bag with drugs in it.  The victim had a puncture wound on his right arm, consistent with having recently injected drugs.

Deputies learned that the victim had been found by a family member. He was last seen alive on June 24. The next day, when no one had heard from him, a family member found the victim deceased in his bedroom. Investigators searched his cell phone and, after reviewing texts, saw that on June 24 he had been attempting to purchase heroin from Cooper.

An autopsy revealed that the cause of death was an overdose of heroin, fentanyl and alcohol toxicity. Forensic testing on the contents of the baggie confirmed it was a combination of the two drugs.

Cooper is currently in custody and his next court appearance is scheduled in April.

Criminal Complaint (PDF)