A teenager has been charged with murder on allegations that he sold a powerful opioid to a 15-year-old girl who overdosed on the drug in her West St. Paul home.
Parker J. Benson, of Bloomington, was charged in Dakota County District Court last week by juvenile petition with third-degree murder in connection with the fentanyl overdose death on April 20.
The County Attorney's Office has filed a motion with the court to have Benson's case moved to adult court. In the meantime, a warrant has been issued for his arrest. His attorney, Marsh Halberg, said Monday that it was too soon for him to comment.
"Illicit fentanyl is now the number one cause of death among Americans ages 18-45," County Attorney Kathy Keena said in a statement, citing data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Sadly, we've lost another child to this extremely deadly drug."
According to prosecutors:
Police were called to the home about 12:45 a.m. and saw a woman trying to resuscitate her unconscious daughter, who was not breathing. The teen was taken by emergency responders to a hospital, where she died from what an autopsy determined was a fentanyl overdose.
The mother told police she went into the girl's room and found her face-down on her bed with a blue pill next to her. She rolled her daughter over, began cardiopulmonary resuscitation and called 911.
A law enforcement inspection of the teen's phone revealed a SnapChat conversation that showed Benson agreed to sell the girl four pills for $60 on April 19.
That same night, Benson told the teen in a message "only take like less than a quarter of it."
Shortly after 2 a.m. on April 20, Benson messaged again and said "they hitting?" The girl did not respond.
"The death of a loved one due to a drug overdose is tragic and extremely heartbreaking," read a statement from Police Chief Brian Sturgeon. "The death of a 15-year-old child is nothing short of devastating to the family, friends and community."