Duluth man faces reckless homicide charge in Douglas County

Jeffery Paul Linder of Duluth is accused of selling fentanyl that contributed to death.

Douglas County Circuit Court, Superior, Wisconsin. (Jed Carlson /
Jed Carlson / File / Superior Telegram

A Duluth man is facing arraignment on a charge of first-degree reckless homicide in connection with an overdose death of a woman in Superior in Douglas County Circuit Court.

Court Commissioner Rebecca Lovejoy found probable cause Wednesday, March 31, after hearing testimony from Superior Police Detective Christopher Moe, who was assigned to investigate the June 11, 2020, death of a woman identified only as the victim.

Jeffery Paul Linder, 42, could face up to 40 years in prison and a $100,000 fine if convicted for providing drugs that lead to the Superior woman's death.

According to the criminal complaint:

The victim was found dead in an apartment, sitting on a couch. On the coffee table in the room was a piece of tinfoil, a white plate with a powdery residue and a white straw. The residue was identified as fentanyl by the Wisconsin Crime Lab.


An autopsy revealed the victim had pulmonary edema, fluid in the airways and lungs, often seen with drug toxicity. The toxicology screening showed the presence of fentanyl, ethanol at a level of 0.235 grams per decilitre (1 gram is equal to 16 drops of water) and an over-the-counter drug often abused due to its opioid-like effects at high doses. The cause of death was attributed to the combined effect of fentanyl and ethanol.

Victim's mom suspected another man, who was in a hospital in Eau Claire, but who had supplied the victim with oxycodone pills in the past.

Moe obtained a warrant for Facebook messages of the victim and the other man that revealed a message from the man the victim’s mother suspected and Linder that read: “(Victim) died because of that H you sold her.” Moe questioned the man about how he knew Linder was the one who sold her the drugs, and he said the victim told him.

The man said he was on the phone with the victim when she died.

A forensic examination of the victim’s phone revealed communications between the victim and Linder leading up to her death, as well as communication between the victim and the man her mother suspected.

Linder was arrested March 23 on an unrelated warrant. When questioned about the victim’s death, Linder denied selling drugs to her. When challenged about the denial, he told police the man suspected by the victim’s mother was bullying him to sell heroin to the victim so he said he hooked up the victim with two other people.

“Linder said he did a lot of work to put this deal together for the victim,” the complaint states.

Linder is scheduled to be arraigned April 16.

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