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East Troy woman gets five years in fatal overdose case

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Kayla Bunge
February 12, 2009
— Bobbie Jean Joecks said she never intended for her friend to die—especially at the hands of her drug addiction.

"His death will be with me for the rest of my life," she is quoted as saying in a pre-sentence investigation presented in court Wednesday. "It has scarred me because in my heart of hearts I know methadone played a part in his death."


Walworth County Judge James Carlson sentenced Joecks, 37, formerly of East Troy, to five years in prison and 10 years extended supervision for providing the methadone that killed 32-year-old Jason Bodart of East Troy in March 2006.


Joecks pleaded guilty Dec. 8 to first-degree reckless homicide after surveillance video from Double D's Tavern in East Troy Township showed her placing a large pill in front of Bodart, who swallowed it with a drink.


A felony bail jumping charge was dismissed.


Michelle Johnston, who spoke in court Tuesday via telephone from New Jersey, described her family's pain since her brother died and asked that Joecks be sentenced to substantial time behind bars.


"She is no stranger to breaking the law, and if my brother would not have crossed paths with her on that fateful day, he never would have died," she said. "She has broken our family forever."


District Attorney Phil Koss said that while Joecks originally had a legitimate prescription for methadone after suffering a back injury at work, she later abused it by fraudulently obtaining refills.


Koss said Joecks' record demonstrated the need for prison.


"Probation has not worked," he said. "She had the chance. ...But while she's out on bond for a serious charge ...she's out stealing and using cocaine. It shows she doesn't take this seriously."


Defense attorney Joshua Klaff said Joecks racked up a criminal record simply to feed her drug habit.


"There was never the intent, never the motive to hurt anybody," he said. "She was a friend who made a horrific mistake."


Klaff acknowledged homicide is serious, but he asked for a sentence that would allow Joecks to get treatment for her drug addiction and return home to her husband and four children.


Jessica Joecks, 18, said the family needs her mother at home.


"She has been gone for more than a year already, but it seems like just yesterday she was coming into our room at night to give us kisses," she said. "Every day it gets harder and harder without her at home."


Before the sentencing hearing began, Joecks asked to withdraw her guilty plea, saying a lawyer interested in taking her case contacted her husband Tuesday.


Gregg Joecks could provide neither the name nor the telephone number of the attorney; "All he told me was to withdraw the plea," he said.


Carlson proceeded with sentencing but said Joecks later could file a motion to withdraw her plea.



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