Beloit man faces homicide charge in overdose death

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Ted Sullivan
Saturday, July 10, 2010
— More than 15 months after a Milton man was found dead from a heroin overdose in a bathroom at the Edgerton hospital, prosecutors have charged a Beloit man with selling him the fatal dose of drugs.

David W. Givhan, 24, Beloit, is accused of selling heroin in Beloit to Luc A. Marsh, 29, on March 31, 2009, according to the criminal complaint.

Givhan remains jailed on a $100,000 bond after being charged Friday with first-degree reckless homicide.

Marsh shot up heroin before work as a janitor at Edgerton Hospital and Health Services, where he was found dead in the maintenance office bathroom, according to the criminal complaint. A blue tourniquet, spoon, hypodermic needle and lighter were found in the bathroom.

Marsh’s phone records and text messages led investigators to people involved in the heroin deal, according to the criminal complaint. Witnesses of the heroin buy then cooperated with investigators.

Givhan has previous convictions for armed robbery and possession of marijuana. He was arrested in Beloit on Thursday after a 15-month investigation into Marsh’s death and the area drug trade, Edgerton Police Lt. Bob Bolgrihn said. Givhan and Marsh didn’t know each other outside of heroin deals.

Marsh’s obituary in the Gazette on April 3, 2009, stated he attended Milton schools. He had worked at Mann Brothers Excavating in Elkhorn and United Building Center in Middleton.

Marsh was a sports fan who loved the Dallas Cowboys. He liked motorcycles and the television show “Orange County Choppers.” He also enjoyed cooking and working on cars.

“Luc was his own man, who was very confident with himself in whatever he did,” according to the obituary.

Marsh’s death is one in a long string of area heroin overdose deaths in the last few years.

Six people died of heroin overdoses in Rock County in 2008, and eight people died of heroin overdoses in 2009, according to the Rock County Coroner’s Office. No one died of a heroin overdose in the first three months of 2010.

Heroin affects all walks of life. Local teachers in Rock and Walworth counties have been arrested on heroin charges.

Paramedics are reviving users. Addicts are committing burglaries and thefts to fund their fix.

Counselors are treating more heroin patients. Drug units are ramping up investigations.

Rock County Sheriff’s Sgt. Craig Strouse, who is in charge of the special investigations unit, said heroin remains prevalent in Rock County. He said the problem has leveled off from its peak about two years ago.

Fewer people are dying of heroin overdoses because users carry Narcan, a drug used to revive victims of heroin overdoses, officials said. Law enforcement also is trying to educate people about the drug.

Heroin follows the typical drug-dealing pipeline from Chicago to Rockford, Ill., to Beloit, to Janesville and beyond, Strouse said.

Heroin investigations can last several months while detectives use informants, surveillance, body wires and other covert methods to bust heroin traffickers, according to criminal complaints.

Prosecutors can charge people who supply drugs in an overdose death under the state’s Len Bias law, but charges are rarely filed in such cases.

The case against Givhan is the second first-degree reckless homicide case in Rock County this year.

Ashlee R. Brown, 14, was sentenced in March to five years in the custody of the state with up to three years incarcerated in the Feb. 8 oxycodone overdose death of Alex Aiken, 13, of Milton Township.

Homicide is difficult to prove in fatal drug overdoses, investigators have said.

It’s difficult to know who handled the drugs; witnesses are uncooperative; and the cause of death isn’t always clear, investigators have said.

Evidence also is cleaned up before the death is discovered.

Last updated: 2:24 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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