The powerfully addictive synthetic opioid fentanyl killed a southern Minnesota woman in her apartment, and the man accused of selling it to her has been charged with murder.
Otis L. Dear Jr., 38, of Mankato, was charged Friday in Nicollet County District Court with third-degree murder in the April death of Patricia A. Johnston, 29, of North Mankato.
Dear remains jailed in lieu of $150,000 bail. Court records show no legal representation for him as of Sunday.
According to the criminal complaint:
A police officer called to the apartment on April 12 was met by Johnston’s fiancé, Derek Mason. The officer found Johnston dead on a bedroom floor.
Mason said Johnston had a history of opioid abuse and had used illicit drugs intravenously. Police detectives saw a syringe with blood on it near Johnston’s feet and a tourniquet on the floor nearby.
Johnston’s phone records revealed calls and text messages with Dear in the three days before her death suggesting she was trying to buy drugs from him. One text from her read: “I do need some.”
Drug investigators searched Dear’s home a week later and found methamphetamine and a yellowish powder that tested positive for fentanyl.
An autopsy found that Johnston had a fatal level of fentanyl in her system.
According to Johnston’s online obituary, the mother of two children enjoyed drawing and sculpting and was “passionate about social justice issues and even traveled to Washington, D.C., to rally at the United States Capitol.”