Herman B. Trigg, 32, of Palatine, pleaded guilty Wednesday to drug-induced homicide, a Class X felony. In addition to prison, he also will serve three years of mandatory supervised release.
The felony charge is punishable by a minimum of six and up to 30 years in prison. He will be required by state law to serve 75 percent of the sentence. Trigg will receive credit for the 13 months served in McHenry County Jail.
McHenry County Judge Michael Feetterer accepted the plea and found that the offense was committed because of addiction or use of alcohol or drugs.
Trigg’s attorney, Assistant Public Defender Grant Tucker, said these cases are complex because it can be difficult to prove the drugs delivered were the ones that killed someone – especially if that person has an addiction.
“There’s no real way to know if the drugs that day were the drugs that killed her two or three days later,” Tucker said.
According to the McHenry County Coroner, there were 21 drug overdose deaths through May 2015 – nine of which were heroin-related.
Assistant State’s Attorney Randi Freese said the plea agreement was made after consideration of the facts and circumstances in the case.
Trigg, who was out on bond on another pending felony drug case, was picked up on an arrest warrant in July 2015 and charged with drug-induced homicide after authorities said he delivered the controlled substance in April 2015 to 30-year-old Melissa A. Carroll. She later ingested the drugs and died at home, authorities said.
The McHenry County Sheriff’s Office worked closely with the state’s attorney’s office and coroner’s office after Carroll’s death to obtain an arrest warrant.
McHenry County Sheriff’s Detective Kyle Mandernack, with the permission of her family, used Carroll’s cellphone to set up a drug buy with Trigg. Authorities said Trigg, not knowing Caroll had died two days earlier, showed up at her home with heroin and marijuana in his car and was arrested.
Mandernack never obtained a search warrant, and Tucker argued in court that the text message exchange was a violation of the defendant’s privacy rights. This was the first time the issue had been raised in Illinois, Feetterer said.
Feetterer ruled in January the text messages could be used by prosecutors and that Trigg had no reasonable expectation of privacy when it came to the text messages found on Carroll’s phone.