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Emily Katherine Frye, 21, was charged in the overdose death of a Scandia man.

Washington Co. Sheriff's office,

Oakdale drug dealer sent to prison for man's fatal methadone overdose

  • Article by: Kevin Giles
  • Star Tribune
  • February 21, 2014 - 4:52 PM

An Oakdale drug dealer was sent to prison Friday for supplying methadone to a Scandia man who overdosed on it and died.

Emily Katherine Frye, 22, will serve at least four years and three months on a third-degree murder conviction for causing the death of 23-year-old Frank Eck in August 2012.

“I want you to understand how sorry I am that I hurt you guys, so sorry,” a sobbing Frye told Eck’s family in a Washington County courtroom. “I would trade my life for Frank. I have no greater regret than the damage I caused you. Forgive me.”

District Judge Ellen Maas sentenced Frye to about seven years in prison with credit for 187 days of jail time. With good behavior, she could leave prison on supervised release after serving two-thirds of her sentence.

Frye’s attorney, Eric Thole, had attempted to persuade Maas that his client should be sentenced to probation because of what he said were inconsistencies in state sentencing guidelines. But prosecutor Imran Ali, from the Washington County Attorney’s office, said the law clearly called for prison time in a third-degree murder conviction.

Before sentencing, Eck’s parents and siblings stood before Maas to tell about their grief. “I replay in my mind what it must have like for Diane to see her first-born son dead in his room,” Frank Eck Jr., the victim’s father, said of his wife.

Methadone is a powerful, potentially life-threatening drug that has various medical uses such as treating addictions to narcotic drugs such as heroin.

The Ramsey County medical examiner concluded that Eck died of “acute methadone toxicity,” according to criminal charges. He was found dead Aug. 1 in his locked 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.

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.

Ali said after Friday’s hearing that he was satisfied with the sentence.

“I’m disappointed with the outcome but my client isn’t,” Thole said. “She’s accepted responsibility and she’s willing to take punishment for it.”

Kevin Giles • 651-925-5037

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