Janet Caccamo paused Thursday on her way to the judge’s bench, where moments later she would recount the day she discovered her son, Jeremy Caccamo, dead from a heroin overdose in his bedroom.
“I don’t want him to be forgotten,” the mother said as she placed a framed collage of photos of her son in front of the judge’s stand.
McHenry County Judge Sharon Prather sentenced one of Jeremy Caccamo’s friends, 35-year-old Shawn M. Brand, to eight years in prison for delivering the heroin on which Caccamo overdosed. He must serve 50 percent of the sentence.
“This is the cycle of what’s going on in the drug culture here in McHenry County,” Prather said.
Originally charged in 2017 with drug-induced homicide, Brand entered a blind plea Nov. 9 to delivery of a controlled substance charges. He faced a maximum of 15 years in prison.
Janet Caccamo found 29-year-old Jeremy Caccamo on July 5, 2017, in the bedroom of his Wonder Lake home.
“I opened the door and saw my son leaning against the bedpost,” she said in court Thursday. “I tried to wake him. He wouldn’t wake up. I immediately reached for the Narcan and called 911.”
A three-month investigation revealed phone records of an arranged drug delivery between Brand and Jeremy Caccamo on July 4, 2017, court records show.
Brand’s attorney, Henry Sugden, said the men exchanged drugs, and that Brand wasn’t paid for delivering heroin to Jeremy Caccamo. Brand, who also struggles with addiction, has denied that the heroin he delivered was the same dose that killed his friend and former roommate.
“I never expected him to be in any harm,” Brand said Thursday.
Sugden implied someone else might have delivered Jeremy Caccamo drugs later that day. The attorney pointed to phone records that revealed there were 78 calls back and forth on Jeremy Caccamo’s phone after Brand delivered the heroin.
Prosecutors have revoked Brand’s probation sentences in two separate McHenry County cases; he also received a 1½-year prison sentence for possession of a controlled substance in 2015, prosecutors said.
“The most ironic thing about this day and Shawn Brand’s incarceration is that this is most likely saving [Brand’s] life, while he delivered the drugs that took my son’s life,” Janet Caccamo said.
Jeremy Caccamo relapsed about two weeks before he died, his mother said. On July 5, he made a call to his narcotics anonymous sponsor, who arranged for Jeremy to attend a rehabilitation center in South Carolina.
Jeremy Caccamo died later that day.
“I gave him $20 for gas,” Janet Caccamo said. “There is still $20 in his wallet as of today. I never took it out.”
Jeremy Caccamo left behind his daughter, fiancée, parents and three brothers.
Since his younger brother’s death, Richard Caccamo has advocated for overdose awareness and promoting the A Way Out – McHenry County program, which provides treatment to addicts.