Homicide charges filed in heroin death

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Victim died shortly after purchasing drugs, complaint says

Warren Bluhm, wbluhm@newmedia-wi.com

Two people have been charged with first-degree reckless homicide in connection with the heroin-related death of an Oconto man in September.

Brian A. Blasing, 29, and Chasity M. Denny, 29, both of Oconto, also face charges of the manufacture and delivery in the death of Jeffrey Dean Pecha, 33, who died Sept. 12.

During brief court appearances May 1 in Oconto County Circuit Court, bail for the two defendants was set at $100,000 cash each with conditions of absolute sobriety and no contact. Blasing and Denny are each due back in court Thursday to review the charges and schedule preliminary hearings.

According to the criminal complaints, the pair are accused of selling Pecha the drugs that killed him. The charges carry a combined maximum sentence of 52½ years in prison and $125,000 in fines.

Pecha was found sprawled on the front stairs of a house on Congress Street shortly after 5:30 p.m. Sept. 12. He was pronounced dead at an area hospital a short time later, and an autopsy the next day found he died of an overdose of heroin, methamphetamine and two prescription drugs.

The investigation included getting a search warrant for Pecha’s phone, where police found text messages that indicated Pecha contacted Blasing that day to buy heroin and methamphetamine. A witness saw Pecha get into a car with Blasing and Denny around 5 p.m. that day, the complaint said.

Over the next few months, police developed confidential informants who provided information that Blasing and Denny were involved in sales of heroin, meth and cocaine, and a Marinette County informant was able to purchase cocaine from them in January, the complaint indicates.

The Marinette County Sheriff’s Department told investigators that Blasing and Denny may have been involved in another drug overdose death in its jurisdiction in February.

Authorities obtained a court order to install GPS devices on their vehicles and monitor pings from Blasing’s cell phone, and they were arrested in Denny’s car April 29 after intelligence indicated they had gone to Green Bay to purchase drugs and were on their way back, the complaint said.