JANESVILLE

A Janesville man was charged Thursday with first-degree reckless homicide in connection with another man’s overdose death reported the day after Christmas in Janesville.

The criminal complaint charges Ashante K. Byrd, 25, formerly of Milton, with causing the death of Tarron Turner, 21, of Janesville.

The complaint does not explicitly state if or when Byrd specifically delivered the drugs to Turner, however.

Rock County prosecutors say after Turner appeared to have overdosed and died in a Janesville apartment, Byrd drove his body to a parking lot near 225 Milton Ave. and left it in the car in hopes that someone would find it quickly.

Byrd told authorities that on the night of Dec. 24, Turner wanted to buy heroin from Byrd’s source, according to the complaint. Turner drove Byrd to a spot where they bought about $100 worth of heroin.

The two snorted some of the heroin back at the Janesville apartment, where Turner shared heroin with Byrd and Byrd gave Turner a free tattoo, the complaint states.

Byrd told a Janesville police detective he begged Turner not to use more of the heroin, but Turner went on to use more and said he could “handle it,” according to the complaint. The two eventually fell asleep, and at one point Byrd noticed Turner was snoring but seemed fine.

But when Byrd woke, he noticed Turner was very white and without a pulse, the complaint states. Byrd carried Turner to a car and drove to the parking lot.

First responders went to the scene at about 2:57 p.m. Dec. 26 and found Turner’s body in the back seat of a Chrysler, the complaint states. Police reported finding a small plastic baggie with powdery residue on the front driver’s seat.

One person who spoke to Byrd on the night of Dec. 26 via Facebook Messenger shared messages with police, the complaint states.

Such messages from Byrd highlighted in the complaint include:

  • “He was dead dead.”
  • “He was all pale n purple. No heart beat. I gave him CPR. Nothing happened.”
  • “I didn’t want the cops to come and take my niece away after having to call the ambulance for someone else the other day.”

An autopsy shows Turner died of mixed-drug intoxication, with listed substances including fentanyl and marijuana, according to the complaint.

To get a conviction before a jury on the reckless homicide charge in a drug case, the prosecution has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:

  • The defendant delivered a substance.
  • The substance was a controlled substance.
  • The defendant knew or believed that the substance was the controlled substance.
  • The victim used the substance alleged to have been delivered by the defendant and died as a result of that use.

Byrd’s next court appearance is a preliminary hearing at 10:45 a.m. Monday, July 20.