Superior Man Charged with Homicide in Connection to Overdose Death

Nathan Birkholz

SUPERIOR, Wis. – A 22-year-old Superior man has been charged with First Degree Reckless Homicide after his alleged involvement in the overdose death of Neil Christianson in Nov. 2016, according to Douglas County District Attorney Mark Fruehauf.

Nathan Birkholz allegedly delivered a substance which contained heroin and fentanyl to Christianson, which resulted in his death. The criminal complaint indicates that Christianson was found dead in his home in the early morning hours of Nov. 25.

An autopsy revealed the cause of death was heroin and acryl fentanyl toxicity. Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid that is 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine.

Investigators found, according to the criminal complaint, that Birkholz and Christianson communicated on Facebook prior to Christianson’s death about the exchange of heroin in the late hours of Nov. 24.

Details from the criminal complaint:

It was apparent to investigator Holmgren, based upon messages sent by the defendant to others, that the defendant was conducting several other drug deals that evening before going to the Christianson residence. Notably, the defendant indicates to others whom he is messaging in the evening of November 24 that he has “the killest killer you ever had, ” “I got the (sic) best shit u ever did in your life times 10x.”

In relevant part, the conversation between Christianson and the defendant concludes as follows:
-9:59 PM – Christianson to the defendant – “my phone died so I’m on my computer just let me know when your here.”
-10:04 PM – Defendant to Christianson – “I’ll be there in 5.” “Had to stop at gas station.”
-10:08 PM – Defendant to Christianson – “I’ll be there in 2.”
-10:08 PM – Christianson to the defendant – “okie dokie I’ll be on my porch waiting.”

The 10:08 PM message sent by Christianson is the last message he sent on his Facebook account.

The defendant continued to send messages to others that night indicating he was selling drugs. In relevant part, he indicated to others that he’s “got some kill,” “it’s like tan,” “Super kill,” “Best shit u ever had,” “And I got 2 pts for 70 and I could sell this shit for 50 a point easy!!” Investigator Holmgren noted that based on his training and experience that this type of language is consistent with language used by drug dealers when selling their product. “Point” describes the weight of the heroin (0.1 grams), and “kill” and “killer” describe the extreme potency of the heroin. Investigator Holmgren knows that fentanyl is a far more potent opiate than heroin that has been linked to numerous drug overdoses in the Twin Ports.

Birkholz is currently incarcerated in the Wisconsin State prison system on separate charges. He will be brought to Douglas County in the near future to make his first court appearance on these homicide charges.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Corrections, Birkholz has a criminal history involving battery, theft, burglary, and drug charges.

No further information has been released from the District Attorney’s Office.



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