Superior Heroin Death Results in Homicide Charge
22-Year-Old Nathan Birkholz of Superior Charged for Distributing Lethal Dose of Opioids
SUPERIOR, Wis. – A fatal heroin overdose that took the life of a 25-year-old Superior man last year has turned into a homicide case.
According to the criminal complaint, the suspect, 22-year-old Nathan Birkholz of Superior, knew he was selling a mix of heroin and fentanyl that was the strongest any of his users would ever get their hands on.
“The legislature has determined that if you distribute a controlled substance to someone and they die as a result of that, you’re responsible for their death,” says Douglas County District Attorney, Mark Fruehauf.
Fruehauf is filing a first degree reckless homicide charge against already convicted felon, Birkholz for the heroin overdose death of 25-year-old Neil Christianson.
“I hope people understand they’re responsible, when they deliver drugs to somebody, for the consequences of their actions, so I hope that in some way that this has an effect in that regard,” says Fruehauf.
The criminal complaint states Christianson was found dead inside a home by his mother after he received a potent mix of heroin and fentanyl from Birkholz. The complaint goes on to say Birkholz sent private Facebook messages to Christianson before the sale, calling the drugs, “The killest killer you ever had.” He also said, “I got the best (expletive) u ever did in your life times 10x.”
Meanwhile, Fruehauf says he hopes issuing a homicide charge in this case will help dissuade others from distributing drugs in the future, but he also says convicting criminals is only one part of solving the opioid epidemic.
“My hope is that drug court and then a strong community response to help and support those people who are addicted to these terrible drugs, I hope that in concert all of that helps to stem the problem,” says Fruehauf.
The defendant, Birkholz, is currently in a Wisconsin State Prison on a separate case and will eventually be transferred to Douglas County to make an appearance in court. If he is convicted of this homicide charge, he faces up to forty years in prison.