Crime & Courts

Attorneys make closing arguments in Lake in the HIlls woman's drug-induced homicide trial

Decision to be issued by judge Oct. 2

Paige S. Hoover, 23, of Lake in the Hills
Paige S. Hoover, 23, of Lake in the Hills

Defense attorneys for Paige Hoover continued pressing law enforcement officers Thursday on why others in Peter Fonte's social circle were not considered suspects in his fatal overdose on May 18, 2018.

The fate of Hoover, a 25-year-old Lake in the Hills woman facing a drug-induced homicide charge in the 45-year-old Cary man's death, now is in the hands of McHenry County Circuit Judge Michael E. Coppedge.

The judge presided over three days of testimony this week and is set to issue a decision at 10:30 a.m. Oct. 2.

Hoover's defense attorney Steve Greenberg was adamant prosecutors had not proved their case beyond a reasonable doubt.

Prosecutors argued that Hoover supplied the heroin and fentanyl that caused both Fonte and Andrew Silva to overdose. Only Silva survived after police were called to a wooded area near his Crystal Lake home and administered multiple doses of an overdose reversal drug called naloxone.

Fonte died alone in Cary after using the drugs allegedly provided by Hoover, prosecutors said. Silva testified he received heroin from Fonte at a Crystal Lake train station and saw a woman matching Hoover's description in a car with Fonte.

"The defendant brought heroin and fentanyl – poison – into McHenry County. Thank god Andrew Silva overdosed while his parents were home and is still here," prosecutor Brian Miller said during his closing arguments.

Greenberg, the defense attorney, pointed to text messages between Fonte and a woman named Antonia indicating they had discussed doing drugs together during the two days before Fonte died. Fonte also exchanged messages with a person named Josh, Greenberg said, showing that some kind of transaction involving "subs," a slang term, had taken place the day Fonte was killed.

Greenberg had argued that prosecutors violated discovery rules by not disclosing messages between Silva and a man who had been convicted last year in a separate McHenry County case of drug-induced homicide and sentenced to nine years in prison. Coppedge ruled against that motion Thursday.

Miller also pointed to text messages between Fonte and the woman named Antonia, who directed him to go through someone named Paige to make a drug transaction. The messages said Paige was 23, Hoover's age at the time of the alleged crime.

He also noted Hoover's cellphone containing texts from as far back as February 2018, as well as others from May 19, 2018, going forward, but none from May 18, 2018, the day of Fonte's death, which he said was a sign she had a guilty conscience.

Greenberg said his client may have been nervous about keeping the messages after she heard of Fonte's death since she gave him a ride the day of the incident to the Crystal Lake train station. That's where, she told Rutzen in an interview played in court, Fonte met with someone matching Silva's description. But the move to delete them did not prove she was involved in the death, or delivered the drugs, Greenberg said.

Additionally, no witnesses said they saw Hoover provide anything directly to Fonte, Greenberg said.

Hoover's texts show she discussed getting "stuff" for Fonte, but Greenberg said that does not prove she actually did it, nor that the item discussed was the heroin and fentanyl that killed the man.

"We know Mr. Fonte also did cocaine and other prescription drugs. Maybe this was a discussion about those, I don't know," Greenberg said in closing arguments. He said the state's evidence against Hoover "is no different than the circumstantial evidence against others."

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