Three years ago, the two teens from Austin, Minn., were being recognized for their career-path skills. Now one is dead from a heroin overdose and the other is charged with murder for allegedly arranging the fatal drug deal.
Jordan Flugum, 20, pleaded not guilty last week in Mower County District Court in connection with the death in March of Jordon Jensen, 20, at the victim's home from a heroin overdose.
Flugum, charged with third-degree murder, remains jailed in lieu of $100,000 bail ahead of his trial, scheduled for Sept. 26.
Jensen's death comes as the state and the nation struggle with how to stem the tide of opioid overdoses, whether they be street drugs or prescription medications.
The case against Flugum follows the increasing willingness by prosecutors in Minnesota to seek murder charges against illicit drug providers, even if the supplier does not intend to kill his or her victim.
Flugum and Jensen, fellow Austin High School students, participated together in the 2013 SkillsUSA Championships in Bloomington. Flugum took statewide honors in graphic communications, while Jensen was third in the state in computer programming.
Jensen "enjoyed computers, playing video games, and working on things," his family wrote in his funeral home obituary.
According to the criminal complaint against Flugum:
Early in the afternoon on March 27, Jensen's mother called police and said her son was in bed and might be dead. Officers found two capped syringes in Jensen's coat pocket and needle trackmarks on his right arm. An autopsy determined that Jensen died from "acute heroin and methamphetamine toxicity."
On May 2, Flugum told police that Jensen contacted him through Facebook on March 26 and was looking for heroin. Jensen said he could offer a 55-inch television as payment for the drug.
Jensen met an intermediary of Flugum's in Austin, and Flugum and Jensen loaded the television into that person's car.
The intermediary gave Flugum about 1 gram of heroin. Jensen and Flugum then each ingested the drug.