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2 face felony charges in near-fatal Wausau heroin overdose

in Sirens

By Shereen Siewert

WAUSAU — Two people are facing an array of criminal charges after the heroin they allegedly sold to a Wausau man resulted in a near-fatal overdose.

Kenneth Sherman, 40, and Megan Justman, 31, both of Wausau, appeared Monday in Marathon County Circuit Court, where they face charges of first degree recklessly endangering safety and manufacturing or delivering heroin in connection with the investigation. Sherman faces additional charges of possessing methamphetamine, possession of an illegally obtained prescription and possession of narcotic drugs.

Police were called at 8:18 a.m. Jan. 20 to a N. 8th Avenue residence for a report of a man who had “just shot up with a needle,” according to the incident report. Paramedics were on scene by the time officers arrived and revived the man before taking him to Aspirus Wausau Hospital, where he was admitted and taken to the intensive care unit. The victim, who lived in the home with a girlfriend, infant child, and at least one other relative, survived.

Police say the call came after the homeowner heard the man enter a bathroom and shut the door before hearing loud gasping sounds from the room. The homeowner entered the bathroom and found the man lying on the floor, struggling to breathe, according to the police report.

Investigators seized a syringe and spoon from the scene and discovered two glass bottles of what police suspect are steroids secreted in the ceiling of the bathroom. Chemical tests are pending on the substances in the bottles, and additional charges are possible depending on the results of those tests, according to the police report.

One day later, the victim told police he had struggled with addiction from an early age, when he had his wisdom teeth removed and was prescribed Vicodin for pain, court filings show. That addiction led the man to abuse oxycodone and OxyContin before he eventually turned to heroin, police said, but the man claims he had been clean for about two years until a few days prior to his near overdose.

The victim told police he bought the drugs from Justman, with whom he had been texting and messaging through social media. He said Justman appeared unannounced at the west-side bar and restaurant in which he worked, offering to sell him $100 worth of heroin. Justman is accused of arranging the purchase between the victim and Sherman, who was seated with Justman at a table in the restaurant and was allegedly identified through surveillance video.

Police had also received an earlier tip that Justman and Sherman were selling drugs together and were investigating that tip, according to court filings.

Both suspects are in custody.

Kenneth Sherman, 40, of Wausau. Courtesy of Marathon County Sheriff’s Department
Megan E. Justman, 31, of Wausau. Courtesy of Marathon County Sheriff’s Department

Online court records show Justman has multiple arrests dating back to April 2016, the bulk of which have been dismissed due to plea agreements. She does have convictions for second offense drunken driving and for possession of methamphetamine, both of which happened in 2016.

Sherman’s record is lengthier with convictions for animal mistreatment, cocaine delivery, obstruction, OWI, misappropriation of identification to obtain money, theft and heroin trafficking, according to court records. He was on supervision at the time of his arrest.

Justman is being held on a $15,000 cash bond, while Sherman’s bond was set at $20,000 cash. Both suspects remain in the Marathon County Jail and are due in court Feb. 6 for a preliminary hearing.

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