Father believes drug dealer’s sentence too light following son’s death.

December 12, 2017

Linda Hackert with her attorney Doug Stevenson. In background are Blake Wilson’s parents.

Father believes drug dealer’s sentence too light following son’s death.

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.
LUDINGTON — Greg Wilson is a father who has spent the last eight months grieving the death of his 32-year-old son, Gregory Blake Wilson, who died of a drug overdose on March 18, 2017.

Blake Wilson

​Much of Greg’s grief lingers because he believes justice has not been served in regards to Blake’s death. Linda Lou Hackert, the 68-year-old Pere Marquette Township woman who admitted to police that she sold Blake drugs the night before his overdose, was only charged with delivery of a controlled substance, even though the Ludington Police Department recommended that she be charged with delivery of a controlled substance causing death.

​Hackert received a one year sentence in 51st Circuit Court today, serving 90 days up front in the Mason County Jail, with the remainder at the court’s discretion. The sentencing is the result of a plea agreement with Mason County Prosecuting Attorney Paul Spaniola.
​Hackert pleaded “no contest” to the delivery charge in 51st Circuit Court Oct. 24 for selling 20 Xanax pills to Blake the night before he died of respiratory arrest caused by a drug overdose.
A “no contest plea” is a plea used in criminal proceedings as an alternative to a guilty or not guilty plea, whereby the defendant neither disputes nor admits to doing the crime, however the defendant accepts the sentence recommended by the prosecutor in exchange for not contesting the charge.
In interviews with the police, Hackert admitted to selling Blake the drugs.
The crime of delivery of a controlled substance is a felony that is punishable by up to four years in prison. If Hackert had been charged with delivery of a controlled substance causing death, as recommended by the police, she could have faced up to life in prison.
Spaniola said Hackert wasn’t charged with the causing death charge “because causation couldn’t be proven beyond a reasonable doubt based upon the laboratory results.”

“This is a very tragic case on a number of fronts, but the primary tragedy in this particular case is that an individual lost his life,” Spaniola said in court today. “It is a tragic case that Mr. Wilson lost his life. Miss Hackert has no prior criminal record and there is no excuse to what she did. It’s not OK to share medications with someone else.”

Judge Susan Sniegowski agreed with the prosecutor, acknowledging that she understood Blake’s family’s grief and their frustrations. However, she had to sentence Hackert based on the charges filed by the prosecutor, as required by law.

MCP acquired the police and medical examiner reports on the case from Greg Wilson, who had acquired the documents through Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act.

The medical examiner’s report states that Wilson had “elevated (but not necessarily) lethal levels of opiates and soporific (alprazolam).” The toxicology report states that Wilson had varying levels of alprazolam, dihydrocodeine/hydrocodol-free, hydrocodone and hydromorphone in his blood.
​The death certificate lists the cause of death as “respiratory failure; opioid intoxication,” which is why the prosecution could not directly charge Hackert for being responsible for Blake’s death. Xanax (alprazolam) is not an opioid. It is a benzodiazepine used to treat anxiety disorder, panic disorders, and anxiety. According to the drug label’s warnings, it can cause paranoid or suicidal ideation and impair memory, judgment, and coordination. Combining with other substances, particularly alcohol, it can slow breathing and possibly lead to death. It is not an opioid but is considered one of the most frequently abused prescribed pharmaceuticals.
​While the police investigation kept leading back to Hackert, there was no proof of her selling opioids to Blake, only the alprazolam. This fact, though, does not negate the grief that Greg Wilson has felt since his son’s death.
​“I don’t think the court sees the suffering that the family goes through,” Greg Wilson said. “I wish that Mr. Spaniola and the court could take a minute and think about if it was one of their family members.”
Blake Wilson was married and the father of three children, ages 13, 9, and 3.
Greg said Blake had an opioid addiction, caused from a dependency on pain medication due to a back injury.
​“Blake was a hard worker. He had a very good job and he got addicted,” Greg said. “He couldn’t break free of them so I took him down to a rehab center in Grand Rapids where he made an attempt to get free. That was two years ago and he was doing well. Somewhere along the line he relapsed.”
Emergency crews were dispatched to Blake’s house, 203 N. Harrison St., at 9:51 a.m. on March 18, 2017. Blake’s wife, Mckayla, called 911 and reported that he was not breathing and that an overdose was suspected, according to the police report. LPD Sgt. Steven Wietrzkowski and Officer Wells were the first to respond. Wietrzkowski attached an AED (automated external defibrillator) and the officers administered a dosage of Narcan spray into Blake’s nose.
​“The first tube was administered with no results as there was too much fluid and foam coming from the nose of Wilson,” Wells wrote in his report. “First responders (from Ludington Fire Department) arrived and took over working on Wilson. I went downstairs and spoke with Wilson’s wife Mckayla.”
​Sgt. Wietrzkowski was the first on the scene. He said in his report that he went to the upstairs bedroom of the Wilson’s duplex and where Blake was located. “I asked Mckayla if Greg (Blake) was an opiate addict and she told me ‘he used to be.’ Greg was not breathing and not responsive. Greg had vomited and had brown froth clogging his nose. I attached the AED pads to Greg’s chest and turned the AED on. Officer Wells arrived and brought out his Narcan kit from his patrol car. I assembled the first dosage and applied half of the tube up each of Greg’s nostrils. The dosage did not make it into Greg’s nose due to blockage up his nose.”
Wietrzkowski said that he retrieved a sandwich baggie from the scene which contained two Xanax pills. Linda Hackert had told Officer Wells that she sold 20 pills to Blake.
The police report from Ludington Police Department indicates from witnesses that Greg seemed to have relapsed in January of this year. Hackert told police that she had been supplying him with pain medications that were prescribed to her. On March 17, Blake was driven over to her apartment by a co-worker where she sold him 20 Xanax pills, she told police.
“Linda said she gave him the pills and he gave her $5,” Ludington Police Officer J.B. Wells wrote in his report. “I asked her how many times she had given Gregory (also known as Blake) Xanax and she said it was only on occasion and she would only give him one or two pills. I asked her if he would give her money in exchange and she said he would toss her a few bucks because she was on a fixed income. I asked her if she thought it odd that he was asking for 20 pills when he normally only wanted one or two. Linda said she just thought he was really stressed out over his truck not running.”
During an April 11, 2017 interview at Ludington Police Department, Hackert admitted to Det. Aaron Sailor that she had supplied Blake with drugs in the past. “I asked Hackert when the last time was that Wilson got narcos from her and she stated it had been six or eight weeks,” Sailor wrote in his report. “I asked Hackert to go over the events prior to Wilson’s death. Hackert stated that she took Blake, Mckayla, and their son grocery shopping. She said she took Wilson to O’Reilly’s Auto Parts and then to Meijer. Hackert said after Meijer they went to Walmart because Wilson forgot to get a phone card. Hackert said that they stopped at Charter and then went to Walgreens so she (Hackert) could pick up her inhalers.” Sailor said that Hackert then took the Wilsons to some more stores and then back to their Harrison Street apartment house to unload groceries. From there, they went to Pineway Apartments to pick up a car jack from Blake’s father.
​Hackert then drove Blake to House of Flavors manufacturing, where he worked. He got out of the car to look for someone, the report said. He also bought Hackert an ice cream cone. The person Blake was looking for was a co-worker who was helping him fix his car.
Blake’s dad, Greg, blames Hackert for his son’s death. He said he knows that Blake struggled with drug addiction but the person who ultimately sold him the drugs that caused his death was Linda Hackert.
Linda Lou Hackert has no other criminal history in Mason County. However, she is no stranger to the Mason County court system. She has been sued seven times in district court on civil matters, mostly dealing with evictions or non-payment of bills.
​“I am so angry, I can’t even see straight,” Greg said. “There is no other reason why my son knew that woman. She’s 68-years-old and my son was 32. She was supplying him with drugs and that was her connection to him. She is a drug dealer.
​“I just don’t feel that the court system understands what they’re doing by not laying down the law and making an example of people like Linda Hackert,” Greg said. “I wouldn’t wish what my family has gone through the past year on anyone. I think the prosecutor needs to sit down and spend more time with the victims and understand the pain that we have gone through. I cannot believe that this woman could have gotten a maximum sentence of four years and instead is getting three months. It makes me sick to my stomach. I consider myself a Christian person and I don’t carry anger. I don’t sit around and wish harm and I’m not trying to put Linda’s head on my mantle. But, what justice does need is to be served. My son’s memory deserves that. His wife and children deserve that.”
Hackert was ordered to report to the Mason County Jail at 8 p.m. tonight. ​
– Editor Allison Scarbrough contributed to this story.
This story is copyrighted © 2017, all rights reserved by Media Group 31, LLC, PO Box 21, Scottville, MI 49454. No portion of this story or images may be reproduced in any way, including print or broadcast, without expressed written consent.

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