Prosecutors began the trial Monday of 25-year-old Paige Hoover on a drug-induced homicide charge, arguing that a Crystal Lake man who survived an overdose on May 18, 2018, was given the same heroin and fentanyl that killed Peter Fonte in Cary that day.
Fonte, who had struggled with drug addiction previously, was discovered unresponsive by his mother, Lynn Schuler, in her bathroom in her Cary home.
“I tried to shake him. He was still warm but wasn’t moving,” Schuler said through tears from the witness stand.
The Crystal Lake man who lived after overdosing outside his home, Andrew Silva, testified Monday that he wanted to help police with the case because he was good friends with Fonte, who he met in jail before his death.
Silva, who has a criminal history involving drug possession convictions, was told by police he could be recommended for probation in the case stemming from his May 2018 overdose if he provided information about his interactions with Fonte, lawyers for both Hoover and the prosecution both said.
Prosecutors said Silva was given drugs by Fonte, who was seen with a woman matching Hoover’s description in a silver sedan at a Crystal Lake train station during the transaction between the two men. Silva paid with three $20 bills, and Fonte was found with three such bills when he was discovered dead that night.
Text messages between Hoover and Fonte from earlier in the day show she drove to Cook County to purchase drugs before the transaction with Silva, prosecutors Brian Miller and Susanne Groebner also said.
Hoover had tried to have evidence from her cellphone suppressed, arguing that a police officer lied during the request to seize the device, but that motion was denied by McHenry County Circuit Judge Michael E. Coppedge.
An emblem featuring the number sign and the numeral 1 was found on the several bags of drugs found in Fonte’s bedroom in his mother’s home matched those on Silva’s person after his overdose in Crystal Lake, prosecutors said.
Hoover’s attorney, Steve Greenberg, said during opening arguments that the prosecution cannot produce any evidence that shows his client gave any drugs to Fonte, nor any proving she drove to Chicago or Cook County, as police contend, to buy the heroin and fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid sometimes mixed with other substances.
“Mr. Fonte was talking to two or three other people about getting drugs that day,” Greenberg said.
Hoover waived her request for a jury trial, meaning the case is being heard by Coppedge and he will issue a decision on whether the defendant is guilty
Hoover, who was living in Lake in the Hills at the time of the incident and appeared in court Monday out of custody, could face up to 30 years in prison if convicted.
Testimony in the trial is set to continue Tuesday.