Crime & Courts

Woodstock woman takes plea in drug deal gone bad

WOODSTOCK – Family members of a man who died after what police called a drug deal gone awry said they were unhappy with a plea deal given Monday to a woman who was involved.

Hanna Schacht, 22, of Woodstock, pleaded guilty to one count of theft under $500, a misdemeanor, and was sentenced to one year of conditional discharge.

An additional felony charge of failure to report an accident involving a death was dropped as part of the deal accepted by McHenry County Judge Gordon Graham.

A 120-day jail sentence was stayed, meaning Schacht will not have to serve it if she successfully completes the terms of her conditional discharge. She also must pay a $500 fine plus court costs, complete drug addiction treatment and submit to several random drug screens.

Police said John C. Kurchina, 23, also of Woodstock, arranged to buy drugs from Joseph A. Woodell, 26, and went May 20 to a gathering at Woodell’s home on Lawndale Avenue.

Kurchina allegedly left without paying for one-eighth of an ounce of marijuana, and Woodell chased him. Kurchina got into a vehicle driven by Schacht, who sped off, police said.

In an attempt to stop them, Woodell jumped onto the vehicle and was thrown onto the street, police said.

He struck his head on the pavement and died about a week later at Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville.

Several of Woodell’s family members were present Monday when Schacht’s deal went through. They had a brief, heated exchange with members of Schacht’s family.

Schacht should have gotten a harsher sentence, Woodell’s family said.

Woodell’s sister, Laurie Christison, said that he would smoke pot and sell a little to afford it. But he didn’t deserve to die, she said.

Woodell’s criminal record includes a 2007 court supervision sentence for producing fewer than five marijuana plants.

While Schacht may have been in the wrong place at the wrong time, she didn’t do the right thing, Christison said.

“I don’t care if cocaine was involved. I don’t care if [it was] 20 ounces or 20 pounds of marijuana,” she said. “How do you live with yourself, leaving someone laying in the street? I couldn’t.”

Woodell’s father, Lawrence Woodell, said he is considering filing a civil lawsuit against everyone involved.

Kurchina and another man, William B. Howell, 23, were both charged with theft under $500. Kurchina’s next court date is Jan. 29; Howell’s case is up Feb. 6.

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