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Duluth man faces reckless homicide charge in overdose death

The victim died due to heroin, fentanyl and acryl fentanyl toxicity, the criminal complaint said.

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Douglas County Courthouse, Superior, Wisconsin.
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram
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SUPERIOR — A Duluth man who allegedly provided a fatal dose of fentanyl to a Superior woman in 2019 made his initial appearance in Douglas County Circuit Court Tuesday, May 24.

Charlz Whitney Strong, 34, faces one count of first-degree reckless homicide/deliver drugs.

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Charlz Strong
Contributed / Douglas County Jail

Bail was set at $100,000 cash for Strong, and he was ordered not to use or possess any controlled substance or drug-related paraphernalia without a valid prescription.

The victim was found deceased in the bedroom of her Superior residence, according to the criminal complaint. Needles and other drug paraphernalia were found in the room, including a “loaded syringe.”

The victim had called her sponsor about 10:50 p.m. the night before and asked the sponsor to call for help if she stopped talking because she believed she’d used too much heroin. The sponsor went to the victim’s residence and spent two hours with her, leaving at 12:50 a.m. The victim was found dead about six hours later.

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A forensic pathologist concluded the Superior woman had died due to heroin, fentanyl and acryl fentanyl toxicity. A forensic search of the victim’s phone located several messages between the woman and Strong that showed the two were frequently involved in drug transactions, according to the complaint. The night before her death, the victim messaged Strong “Hey I got 150 HMU (hit me up)” and later sent a message to a third party saying “I went through Charles because I couldn’t get ahold of you.”

Strong had initially been interviewed by Superior Police investigators in 2019 and said he was a “drug buddy” of the victim, but denied supplying the drugs led to her overdose. Nearly two years later, Strong contacted Superior Police Detective Chris Moe and admitted he stole money from the victim. To repay her, he gave her a gram and a half of fentanyl and told her to be careful with it. He told Moe he knew he was giving her fentanyl.

If convicted of the class C felony, Strong could be sentenced to up to 40 years in prison and fined up to $100,000. His next court appearance was set for Wednesday, June 1.

MORE CRIME AND COURTS COVERAGE:
As reported by Douglas County Circuit Court.

Maria Lockwood covers news in Douglas County, Wisconsin, for the Superior Telegram.
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