An Oakdale woman who sold the dangerous drug methadone to a Scandia man who later died pleaded guilty Friday to third-degree murder.
Emily Katherine Frye, now 22, was charged in January with Frank Eck's death in August 2012.
Methadone is a powerful, potentially life-threatening drug that has various medical uses such as treating addictions to narcotic drugs such as heroin.
Washington County didn't offer any concessions in the plea before Judge Ellen Maas, said prosecutor Imran Ali of the county attorney's office. Sentencing was set for Feb. 22.
Eck's death was the first of three blamed on methadone recently in the east metro region.
In March, Denis K. Parmuat, 32, of Newport, died at Regions Hospital in St. Paul after he overdosed on the prescription drug. In July, a 61-year-old Prescott, Wis., man, Robert J. Whaley, was charged with first-degree reckless homicide after his wife died from an apparent overdose of methadone.
The Ramsey County medical examiner concluded that Eck died of "acute methadone toxicity," according to criminal charges filed in Washington County District Court.
He was found dead in his bedroom after telling a friend that he "went overboard and did too many pills," the charges said, and he began vomiting and acting erratically.
Sheriff's deputies searching Eck's vehicle found a pill crusher, a rolled-up $20 bill and a razor blade with white residue on it, which later tested positive for methadone.
According to the complaint, Frye allegedly met Eck, a member of the Minnesota National Guard, outside an Oakdale fast-food restaurant the night of July 29 after exchanging text messages with him.
He agreed to buy 12 pills at $5 apiece, and Frye allegedly sent him a text message saying that "the more you get the better deal." Later that evening he agreed to buy 11 more methadone pills for $4 each.
A cellphone found in Eck's bedroom showed that he had texted Frye asking her for pills. In his last text message, sent at 11:43 p.m., he stated that he would be "peaking" in an hour.
He was found dead the evening of Aug. 1 behind a locked bedroom door in Scandia.
When Frye heard about Eck's death, she began crying and "freaking out" and hitting the side of her car with her hand. "I knew I shouldn't have sold him those methadone," she told a witness.