1/16/2014 1:08:00 PM Southwestern Ill. woman cleared in heroin overdose
EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (AP) — A southwestern Illinois woman who was charged in 2011 with providing heroin that killed her boyfriend and another man has been acquitted of charges accusing her of injecting a woman with a nonfatal overdose of the drug.
Madison County jurors deliberated for about three hours Wednesday before finding 30-year-old Angella Halliday not guilty of an aggravated battery count linked to the overdose last July of a Wood River woman who was revived by paramedics.
Halliday, of Moro, had testified on her own behalf, denying she injected the woman she had long considered a friend, the (Alton) Telegraph (http://bit.ly/1aschTV ) reported. Halliday’s attorney, Brian Polinske, told jurors the overdose victim’s credibility should be questioned, given her admission that she was under the influence of Xanax at the time of the injection.
Medical personnel testified the woman who overdosed had told them Halliday had injected her, though Polinksi told reporters after the verdict “there was no corroborating evidence.”
Halliday was charged in 2011 with two counts of drug-induced homicide for allegedly providing the heroin that killed Benjamin Berkenbile, of Worden, that April, and her boyfriend, Joshua Rogers, in a Godfrey hotel room the next month.
Prosecutors dropped the homicide charges in 2012 after Halliday pleaded guilty to delivery of a prescription anti-anxiety medication near a school. She was sentenced to four years in prison but was released on parole last May after being credited for 15 months she spent in jail.
Despite the acquittal, Halliday must go back to prison for another 15 months, having violated her parole by admittedly injecting herself with heroin last July.
Tom Gibbons, Madison County’s state’s attorney, told the Telegraph after the verdict that while he was disappointed by the trial’s outcome, his office would press on with fighting the increased use of heroin in the region.
Polinske said he hopes Halliday and the overdose victim get substance-abuse treatment, saying that “if they don’t then neither of these ladies are going to live much longer.”