Janesville man pleads guilty to selling heroin that killed a man in Elkhorn

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Jonah Beleckis
Thursday, October 19, 2017

ELKHORN—A Janesville man pleaded guilty Thursday to providing the heroin that killed a man in Elkhorn in January.

At his final pretrial hearing, Jason A. Wedell, 35, pleaded guilty to first-degree reckless homicide and one count of manufacturing/delivering heroin in the Jan. 6 death of Matthew Brown at Sweetener Supply.

Per a plea agreement, a second charge of manufacturing/delivering heroin and a charge of possession with intent to deliver heroin were dismissed and read into the record.

Wedell faces a maximum sentence of 55 years in prison. A pre-sentence investigation was ordered Thursday, and both sides will be free to argue sentence length.

Wedell's attorney, Julia May, said she discussed with him possible defenses at trial. He chose to plead guilty, she said, because he is taking responsibility.

Elkhorn police responded to Sweetener Supply on Jan. 6 and found two employees, including Brown's brother, standing near Brown's body outside the business, according to the criminal complaint.

The complaint did not say how old Brown was or what city he lived in. Law enforcement declined to provide that information.

Brown's brother told police he had not heard from Brown, so he went to check on him at a place where he sometimes went to smoke cigarettes, according to the complaint. Brown's brother opened the door, saw the body and immediately suspected he had overdosed on drugs.

Surveillance video showed Wedell driving into the business's parking lot earlier that morning and getting into Brown's car. He then returned to his own car and left the parking lot, according to the complaint.

Police found 10 packets of heroin in Brown's work locker, according to the complaint.

Brown's autopsy showed he died of an opiate overdose.

Wedell later admitted to police he had been selling heroin to Brown almost every Friday for the six months leading up to Brown's death, according to the complaint.

Wedell will be sentenced at 9 a.m. Jan. 10.

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