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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Saturday, December 09, 2023

Dane County inmate who overdosed in July received heroin from fellow inmate

A Dane County Jail inmate died last July after overdosing on heroin. Now, court documents show he received the drugs from another inmate.

Christopher L. Thorland, a 41-year-old Stoughton resident, died after overdosing on heroin he got from fellow inmate Emmanuel O. Stephen, court documents obtained by the Wisconsin State Journal show.

Stephen, a 27-year-old Madison resident, was found guilty Jan. 26 of heroin possession with intent to deliver. Another charge, first-degree reckless homicide, was dismissed as part of Stephen’s plea deal.

The court documents did not say how the heroin was brought into Dane County Jail.

Before his death, Thorland was in prison for his seventh offense of operating a vehicle while intoxicated. He was found unresponsive in his jail cell July 5 at approximately 5:25 a.m.

Sheriff’s deputies strip-searched Stephen and found illegal drugs in underwear he had removed for the search. They later found both cocaine and heroin in bags belonging to Stephen, according to a criminal complaint filed in July.

Dane County Circuit Court Judge Josann Reynolds will decide Stephen’s sentence April 17. Although Stephen’s reckless homicide charge was dropped, Reynolds is allowed to consider it in her decision as part of the plea deal.

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