Fort Atkinson heroin death leads to 14 years prison for dealer

October 18, 2018 GMT

JEFFERSON — A 32-year-old Fort Atkinson man has been ordered to serve seven years in prison and seven more on extended supervision after being convicted in Jefferson County Circuit Court on a charge of first-degree reckless homicide through the delivery of heroin.

Ian Cusick, 33, of Fort Atkinson, changed a not guilty plea to no contest and was ordered to the 14-year term in the state prison system. One count each of first-degree reckless homicide through the delivery of drugs as a party to the crime, along with two counts of bail jumping, were dismissed.

The homicide charge for which he was convicted relates to the heroin death of Mathew Miller, also of Fort Atkinson, who died April 15, 2017, due to an overdose.

According to the criminal complaint related to the death of Miller, on April 15, 2017, at approximately 3:57 p.m., Fort Atkinson Police Officer Stephen Riggs was dispatched to 91 Rankin St. in the city of Fort Atkinson. Riggs arrived at 3:59 p.m. Riggs and Officer Ryan Wagner entered the residence and found Miller lying naked on the kitchen floor. Miller appeared to be deceased and was later determined to be dead by medical personnel on scene. Riggs observed what appeared to be drug paraphernalia in a bathroom located in the residence.

Investigators observed track marks on Miller’s right arm consistent with intravenous drug use. Also found at the scene were a metal spoon with a brown liquid, a wet and folded dollar bill, a gray powder/rock near a piece of foil, a tourniquet, 12 hypodermic needles and $111 in cash lying on a bathroom counter.

“Detective Brandon Sachse later tested both the metal spoon and the gray powder/rock and received a positive test result on each for the presence of heroin,” the complaint stated.

Investigators spoke with Miller’s father, John Miller.

“John explained that Mathew was addicted to heroin, but had quit for approximately two to three months. John further explained that he had a feeling last week that Mathew was using heroin again,” the complaint stated.

An autopsy was performed on the body of Mathew Miller at the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office by Dr. Jacob Smith. The autopsy report issued by Smith listed Mathew Miller’s cause of death as “acute mixed drug intoxication (heroin, cocaine and ethanol).”

Detectives also spoke with Ashley Lehman on May 23. Lehman explained Cusick was the father of her children.

“Ian Cusick, he sold him the stuff, that day,” Lehman told investigators in the criminal complaint. “He told me that he sold him two 20 bags, is what he said.”

Based on training and experience, detectives said a “20 bag” is approximately 0.1 grams of heroin costing $20.

“Ashley told a detective the defendant (Cusick) told her he talked to Mathew after ‘he did the first 20 bag.’ According to Ashley, the defendant said he found it hard to believe that Mathew died from the heroin, because the cops found some heroin in the house and he had spoken with Mathew after he did the first 20 bag,” the complaint read. “Ashley further stated that on the day Mathew died, the defendant was freaking out and said, ‘I sold him two 20 bags, but I don’t think it will be an overdose.’ Ashley wrote the following in a written statement: ’I talked to Ian after he had called me and told me Matt Miller had overdosed. He seemed very upset on the phone. After I hung up I texted him and asked him if I could come over and talk to him about it. Me and my boyfriend Jason Hackney went over and talked to Ian ... Ian was visibly upset and I asked what was going on. He said he was the one who sold Matt two 20 bags of heroin.”

The sheriff’s department worked, in part, off of Miller’s cell phone records of exchanges with Cusick to establish charges with the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office.

Among conditions of his extended supervision, Cusick must pay $8,500 restitution to Miller’s family for funeral expenses.