Crime & Courts

Jury finds Crystal Lake man guilty of drug-induced homicide

Keith L. Lang, 32, of Crystal Lake
Keith L. Lang, 32, of Crystal Lake

A jury on Wednesday found a Crystal Lake man guilty of selling the dose of heroin that killed a 23-year-old McHenry man in 2017.

After two hours of deliberation, jurors returned with a guilty verdict for one count of drug-induced homicide against Keith L. Lang.

The jury had the option of of finding Lang guilty of a lesser charge, delivery of a controlled substance, which typically carries a sentencing range of three to seven years in prison compared to the six to 30 years in prison possible when convicted of drug-induced homicide.

Lang, 32, was arrested in June 2018 in connection with the death of Scott T. Koivisto. The McHenry resident died on Sept. 22, 2017, from a fatal dose of a mixture of heroin and fentanyl, officials have said.

Throughout the trial, prosecutors used cellphone data and police testimony to show that Lang met with another woman, 25-year-old Elizabeth Long, to sell heroin the day before Koivisto's death. Long then gave a portion of that heroin to Koivisto, who fatally overdosed, prosecutors said.

On Monday, Long testified that Lang sold her drugs, which she bought for Koivisto, on Sept. 21, 2017. She also admitted to occasionally selling drugs to support her habit of cocaine, Xanax and heroin abuse.

"That's Liz's testimony," one of Lang's attorneys, William Bligh, said during closing arguments Wednesday. "That's what the state is hanging their case on."

Prosecutors didn't need to prove that Lang directly delivered the heroin to Koivisto. Instead, they were tasked with connecting the chain of events beginning with Long's purchase of the heroin and ending with Koivisto's death.

Bligh also questioned whether Long's testimony was credible and claimed the offer of a plea deal was "incentive" to "point a finger at Keith."

"Ladies and gentlemen, this case reminds me of the Salem witch trials," Bligh said "'I might be a witch, but so is that person.'"

Long also faced drug-induced homicide charges stemming from Koivisto's death but accepted a plea deal in November 2018. In exchange for her guilty plea to possession with intent to deliver heroin, Long was sentenced to six years in prison.

She was released on parole in March, Illinois Department of Corrections records show.

During closing arguments Wednesday, McHenry County Assistant State's Attorney Rod Drobinski told jurors they didn't need to take Long's testimony at face value. The woman's claims were "backed up" by her phone records, which revealed that she had arranged to purchase heroin from Lang the day before Koivisto's death, prosecutors said. Long then shared a portion of the heroin with Koivisto, who later died.

"That is a chain of events set into motion by [Lang]," McHenry County Assistant State's Attorney Michael Combs said.

McHenry County Judge Robert Wilbrandt is scheduled to issue Lang's sentencing following a Sept. 24 hearing.

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