State

Ex-nursing assistant charged in morphine death

CHICAGO – A former nursing assistant in suburban Chicago has been charged with drug-induced homicide.

Forty-year-old Michelle Johnson of Palatine is accused of stealing pharmaceutical-grade morphine from a medical facility where she worked.

Cook County sheriff’s police investigating the May theft learned that local police were separately investigating the drug death of a Palatine man.

At his home officers found morphine that was prescribed to someone else.

The Cook County Sheriff’s Office said detectives linked the two cases, determining that Johnson and the man, John Maher, were friends and that she supplied him with the morphine that killed him.

Johnson was expected to appear Saturday in bond court in Chicago. It was not immediately clear if she already had a lawyer.

She’s also charged with theft and delivery of a controlled substance.

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