Homicide charges filed in drug death — (The Pekin Times)

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The Pekin Times

By Ed McMenamin

Posted May 20, 2009 at 12:01 AM Updated May 20, 2009 at 7:22 PM

A man has been charged with drug-induced homicide, a Class X felony, in a January drug overdose death in Morton. The Tazewell County States Attorney’s Office on Tuesday filed charges against Robert J. Kessler, of 529 S. Main St. in Morton. The body of Thomas P. Thompson Jr., 26, of 220 Westshore Drive in Morton, was found at home by his father on Jan. 5, according to a Tazewell County coroner’s inquest conducted in March.

A man has been charged with drug-induced homicide, a Class X felony, in a January drug overdose death in Morton.

The Tazewell County States Attorney’s Office on Tuesday filed charges against Robert J. Kessler, of 529 S. Main St. in Morton.

The body of Thomas P. Thompson Jr., 26, of 220 Westshore Drive in Morton, was found at home by his father on Jan. 5, according to a Tazewell County coroner’s inquest conducted in March.

Thompson was pronounced dead around 8:10 a.m. that morning by Tazewell County Coroner Dennis Conover.

A toxicology report conducted during a Jan. 6 autopsy revealed that Thompson died of cocaine, amphetamine and methadone toxicity.

According to testimony during the inquest, Thompson had been to a female friend’s residence the night before his death when another male, who court records now say is Kessler, sold him $20 worth of methadone.

The man who sold Thompson the methadone was a heroin user who had obtained the drug from a clinic, police said during the inquest, and he allegedly told Thompson not to take all of the drug at one time — to try some and see how it affected him.

According to testimony during the inquest, Thompson went home around 10 p.m. and was seen sleeping by his brother around 11:30 p.m. The following morning, Thompson’s father found his body.

After obtaining permission from his father to search the home, officers recovered a one-hitter pipe and cannabis box, a bong, a substance suspected to be cannabis, and rock cocaine, police said during the inquest.

The toxicology tests also revealed that Thompson had smoked cannabis and had levels of a depression medication in his system, Conover said.

During the course of their investigation, the Morton police did not determine where Thompson obtained the cocaine and other illegal drugs, Detective Jason Miller said during the inquest.

The forensic pathologist determined through medical records that Thompson was being treated for depression by a doctor and had been prescribed Zoloft.

During the inquest, Thompson’s brother, Timothy Thompson, said that someone needs to be held responsible for his brother’s death. Although his brother made the choice to take the drugs, he said, “individual who gave him the drugs killed him.”

When the man sold the drugs to Thompson, Conover said at the time of the inquest, “to me, that’s a drug-induced homicide.”

Contact Ed McMenamin at emcmenamin@pekintimes.com.