By Shereen Siewert
After deliberating for just under two hours, a jury on Friday convicted 27-year-old Cassandra Stab of first degree reckless homicide and first degree recklessly endangering safety, charges filed in connection with the fatal overdose of a Spencer man.
Staab, of Marshfield, sold the fentanyl-laced heroin that caused 22-year-old Thomas Bychinski’s death. Heroin laced with fentanyl is particularly deadly, police say, and has made its way into Marathon County over the past two years. The jury’s decision concludes a four-day trial that began Sept. 3 in Marathon County Circuit Court.
Fentanyl is 80 to 100 times more potent than morphine and 50 times more potent than heroin, making the combined drugs especially deadly, according to police.
On Jan. 31, 2017 police were called to a home on Hansen Road in Spencer after two people found Bychinski’s body, according to the police report. During the investigation, police learned Staab was Bychinski’s regular source for heroin, the report stated.
The emergence of fentanyl-laced heroin in Marathon County in June 2016 prompted police to issue a warning to residents about the danger surrounding the drug. At that time, a highly potent strain had been circulating the area that was blamed for at least one death and eight other heroin overdoses in a 10-day span.
Staab, who is already serving a 2 1/2 – year prison sentence in a Wood County heroin trafficking case, faces up to 52 years in the Wisconsin Prison System when she is sentenced on the Marathon County charges.
Circuit Judge Jill Falstad ordered a presentencing investigation be completed before sentencing Staab at a later date, likely within 90 days. Staab is being returned to Taycheedah Correctional Institution while she awaits sentencing.