A Twin Cities woman will serve six months in the workhouse after she admitted slipping a fellow Hennepin County jail inmate a lethal dose of heroin.

The sentencing this week in Hennepin County District Court of Cortney Ann Metcalfe, 32, of Burnsville, comes after she pleaded guilty to third-degree murder in connection with the death of Kristina A. Duren, 40, of St. Paul, more than a year ago.  

Judge Kathryn Quaintance stayed for five years a seven-year term, which would have included roughly four years in prison. Quaintance sentenced Metcalfe to a year in the workhouse and gave her credit for the six months in jail she served upon her arrest.

Under terms of her sentence, Metcalfe must not use alcohol or illicit drugs, must submit to random substance testing, hold a job, undergo mental health evaluation and attend sober support sessions. Any violation during Metcalfe’s five years’ probation could mean an imposition of the seven-year term.

The sentence also covers a separately filed, fifth-degree drug possession case that is related to the murder charge.

“We argued for a prison sentence” of seven years, said Hennepin County Attorney spokesman Chuck Laszewski, “which is the [state] guideline sentence. The defense wanted dramatically less.”

Duren’s sister Teresa Smith said, “Finally justice will be served. … It means so very much to me that my sister can finally rest in peace.”

Duren was found unresponsive in her bunk about 5:40 a.m. on Jan. 21, 2018. Duren and Metcalfe were in custody for unrelated drug arrests.

Video surveillance showed Duren making several trips to the bathroom and twice “grabbing something” off a shelf near her bed, court records read. The two also headed to the bathroom area together shortly before 3 a.m. on the day Duren died.

Later that morning, nurses at the jail discovered Duren unresponsive, according to court records. She was declared dead at HCMC about 6:30 a.m. The autopsy found she died of heroin toxicity.

The next day, Metcalfe was brought to HCMC for a body cavity search, according to the drug possession charge against her.

“Officers noted that [Metcalfe] was restless as she sat on the bench” at the hospital, the complaint read.

“Officers observed a plastic bindle on the ground underneath where [Metcalfe] was seated,” it continued.

The item contained a small amount of heroin, and Metcalfe admitted that she had concealed it in a body cavity.