By Shereen Siewert
One of two people charged after the heroin they sold to a Wausau man resulted in a near-fatal overdose can avoid prison for his crime if he successfully completes seven years of probation.
Kenneth Sherman, 43, and Megan Justman, 34, both of Wausau, each faced charges of first degree recklessly endangering safety and manufacturing or delivering heroin in connection with the investigation. Sherman faced additional charges of possessing methamphetamine, possession of an illegally obtained prescription and possession of narcotic drugs.
Last week Sherman was sentenced on the charges, which were filed in January 2019, in Marathon County Circuit Court. Judge Suzanne O’Neill also imposed but stayed a four-month jail sentence to be used for potential rule violations. As part of a plea agreement, seven charges from two separate cases were dismissed but read into the record and Sherman was convicted of manufacturing or delivering heroin.
The charges stem from a police call the morning of Jan. 20, 2019 to a North 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.
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. Prosecutors said Justman arranged 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.
Sherman’s record is lengthy, 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 was convicted in August 2020 of manufacturing or delivering heroin, while a charge of first-degree recklessly endangering safety was dismissed as part of a plea agreement. She was sentenced on March 4 to probation and entered the drug court program.
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.