Murder Charges in Synthetic Drug Case Dropped Through Plea Deal
WOODBURY, Minn. (AP) — Prosecutors in Minnesota have dropped murder charges against three teens accused of selling a synthetic drug that caused the death of a classmate.
Instead, authorities opted for plea agreements with the three 17-year-olds, believing the teens have a chance to contribute to society. Washington County Assistant Attorney Kevin Mueller says "the kids" are not hardened defendants and have future potential.
Seventeen-year-old Tara Fitzgerald died in January 2014 after ingesting a synthetic drug. Prosecutors charged Sydney Johnson, Alistair Berg and Brian Norlander with third-degree murder. The Star Tribune reports that under terms of the plea agreements, murder charges were dropped in exchange for guilty pleas to a reduced felony charge.
Instead of prison, the teens will spend weekends in jail, pay restitution and perform community service. Two 19-year-old men have also been charged with third-degree murder.