Heroin dealer found guilty in second of four murder trials


A Hennepin County District Court judge found Beverly Burrell guilty of third-degree murder in the overdose death of 21-year-old Max Tillitt who received the fatal dose of heroin from her, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Monday.

Hennepin County District Court Judge Paul Scoggin filed his guilty verdict in Tillitt’s death late Friday. Burrell, 31, of Maplewood, has been charged with murder in four cases of drug overdoses. Judge Scoggin heard testimony in the cases of Tillitt and Lucas Ronnei in May. Judge Scoggin found Burrell guilty in the death of Ronnei on May 23.

In his verdict memorandum regarding Tillitt, Judge Scoggin found the testimony credible for two witnesses who were with Tillitt on Sept. 25, 2015 when he purchased the heroin from Burrell. Tillitt’s friend testified that they had done this on an almost daily basis, hundreds of times. That Burrell, a dependable supplier, met them in the parking lot of a Perkins restaurant in Minneapolis and sold them four bags of heroin for $160.

They went to a motel in Eden Prairie with Tillitt’s fiancé. She testified that she was in the room when Tillitt cooked a dose of heroin on a spoon, loaded it into a needle and injected it. She testified that almost immediately he started “acting crazy,” throwing furniture around and then collapsing on the floor. She called 911 at 11:24 p.m., which was within 10-15 minutes after he’d taken the heroin. The officer who arrived on the scene found Tillitt not breathing and without a pulse. The officer was unable to resuscitate him.

Judge Scoggin noted that there would have been little opportunity or reason for Tillitt to purchase heroin from another dealer on Sept. 25 and that Tillitt’s fiancé was with him when he injected himself and also in the last minutes that he was conscious.

Burrell is in custody, but sentencing dates have not yet been set.

Because there are still two more murder cases to be concluded by the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office against Burrell, it would not be appropriate for the county attorney to comment further.

Guilty Verdict Memo