Reckless homicide suspect takes stand as only witness for the defense

January 9, 2019
Jason Thompson is shown on Tuesday in Dodge County Circuit Court, where he is on trial facing a charge of reckless homicide in the death of a Reeseville man, James Hook, who died of a drug overdose in 2016.

JUNEAU — The jury in a reckless homicide case will hear closing arguments Wednesday before deciding the fate of a Beaver Dam man accused of providing a lethal dose of heroin to a Reeseville man nearly three years ago.

Jason L. Thompson, 41, took the stand as the only witness for the defense Thursday at the end of the second day of testimony. Thompson is charged with first-degree reckless homicide and bail jumping in the death of James L. Hook, 62. If convicted of both charges, Thompson could face up to 46 years in prison and a $110,000 fine.

Hook’s autopsy revealed multi-drug toxicity as the cause of death, with other cardiomegaly and emphysema listed as other significant conditions. One of the drugs in his system was heroin.

On Tuesday, the defense tried to create doubt in the minds of the jury members about who actually gave the heroin to Hook before his death on Feb. 9, 2016.

One of the final witnesses for the prosecution was Leroy Stalker, who said he met Hook in Randolph in 1992 and the two had been friends ever since.

He said he was the person who introduced Hook and Thompson and that he was worried about Hook’s drug use.

“I told him to slow down,” Stalker said. “He’d get too involved and take too much.”

Stalker said he was with Hook and Thompson on the day Hook died. Hook drove the three from Beaver Dam to pick up heroin from a dealer on the east side of Madison. Stalker said he and Hook waited in the car while Thompson went to purchase the drug.

“I didn’t see him meet with anyone,” Stalker said. “I personally did not buy then. Jason bought the drugs.”

“(Thompson) got in the car,” Stalker said. “I leaned forward. He handed Jimmy his drugs, I presume, and Jason gave me mine.”

In his testimony, Thompson admitted going to Madison to purchase the drug, but said Stalker was the person who had purchased the drug.

“The three of us decided to buy narcotics in Madison,” Thompson said.

He said they stopped in Columbus and at Hy-Vee in Madison before stopping on a street off of East Washington Avenue. Thompson said Stalker got out of the vehicle and went to another vehicle with the money that the other two had given him.

“Mr. Stalker handed me one bindle of drugs — heroin,” Thompson said. “And Mr. Stalker handed Mr. Hook another bindle.”

Thompson said he learned from Hook’s father a few days after Hook had died that the family originally believed the cause of death had been a heart attack.