A 64-year-old Edina man who was suspected of injecting his ailing mother with a lethal dose of fentanyl has agreed to plead guilty to illegally possessing illicit drugs and a handgun in exchange for dismissal of a murder count.
Scott A. Henkel entered his plea Tuesday in Hennepin County District Court in connection with the death of 82-year-old Carol L. Henkel in November 2020, at the home they shared.
The plea deal calls for Henkel to be sentenced to a five-year term. If Judge Kerry Meyer accepts the terms, Henkel is expected to serve 31⁄3 years in prison and the balance on supervised release. Sentencing is scheduled for July 6.
The agreement also calls for the prosecution to dismiss charges of third-degree murder and three other drug counts.
Police made two welfare checks at the home, one on Oct. 26, 2020, at the request of Hennepin County adult protection officials, and another at the request of one of her daughters two days before Carol Henkel died, court records disclosed. In both instances, the records continued, officers did not intervene.
Henkel's criminal history in Minnesota includes three drug-related convictions, with the most recent in 2008 for a felony-level offense.
According to the criminal complaint and numerous search warrant affidavits:
Police were called to the home in the 7600 block of Edinborough Way about 1:35 p.m. on Nov. 7, 2020, and located Carol Henkel dead in her bed.
Scott Henkel told police his mother had fallen several times recently and he last saw her about 2 a.m. that day, when he gave her an over-the-counter pain reliever. He said he returned from a trip to the store, found that he could not awaken his mother and called 911.
On the day Carol Henkel died, the Medical Examiner's Office turned the body over to a funeral home after determining "the death appeared to be natural," read one search warrant affidavit.
However, one of her daughters told the examiner's office that Scott Henkel was a street drug user and "possibly 'injected' [Carol] Henkel with heroin," the affidavit continued.
A subsequent autopsy by the examiner's office found "unexplained fentanyl" in her system, and ruled that's what killed her.
Police searched the residence and found nearly 24 pounds of marijuana, methamphetamine, psychedelic mushrooms, cocaine, THC in multiple forms and THC delivery cartridges.
They also seized a .357-magnum handgun and two "speed loaders" with ammunition, along with a ledger that outlined numerous alleged drug transactions.
A search of a locker at a storage facility in Bloomington turned up more than 80 pounds of marijuana, THC wax, more THC cartridges and other illicit drugs.
Scott Henkel, described in court filings as a "roadie" who sets up musical equipment for bands, said he didn't know how his mother could have ingested fentanyl. He admitted possessing the drugs and said he shares them with friends.