Heroin dealer found guilty of murder in first of four cases


Beverly Burrell was found guilty of third-degree murder in the overdose death of a Chanhassen man who received the fatal dose of heroin from her, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Wednesday.

Hennepin County District Court Judge Paul Scoggin, who heard the case May 15-17, filed his guilty verdict in the death of Lucas Ronnei late Tuesday. He heard testimony on another third-degree murder case against Burrell at the same time, but will not rule on that one until after closing written arguments July 3.

In his verdict memorandum, Judge Scoggin found the testimony credible from Ronnei’s parents and a friend of Ronnei’s. That friend picked up the 20-year-old on Jan. 6 and they drove to the parking lot of a restaurant in Minneapolis. There, the friend met with Burrell, bought heroin with money provided by Ronnei and then drove Ronnei home.

Once home, his parents became suspicious that Ronnei had injected heroin and planned to take him to the doctor the next day. He remained in his room through the night and they could hear him snoring at 9:30 a.m. the next morning. However, when they entered his room at 11:30 a.m., they found him unconscious and he was pronounced dead less than 90 minutes later.

Judge Scoggin noted that Burrell’s defense was correct in saying no one saw Ronnei inject the heroin so they cannot
know for sure where he got the fatal dose of the drug. But the tight timeline between the time he received the drug
and the time he died made it “highly unlikely Ronnei obtained any other heroin.”

Because there are still three 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 (PDF)