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Two Minnesota Men Sentenced in Synthetic Drug Overdose Death of Honor Student

January 26, 2015  |  Posted by: Giovanni DePhillips
Two Minnesota Men Sentenced in Synthetic Drug Overdose Death of Honor Student Image courtesy of nydailynews.com

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On Friday, Two Minnesota men were sentenced for their roles in the synthetic drug overdose death of 17-year-old Tara Fitzgerald.

A judge sentenced Alexander Lee Clausen, 18 to six years in prison, and Cole Alexander Matenaer, also 18, to one year in prison and 15 years’ probation, The Pioneer Press reported. Both had pleaded guilty to third degree murder.

alexander-lee-clausen, cole-matenaer                                                           Alexander Lee Clausen and Cole Alexander – Image courtesy of nydailynews.com

Two more co-defendants, Sydney Claire Johnson, Allistair Curtis Berg and Brian Phillip Norlander, both 18, will be sentenced later this year.

According to the Pioneer Press, Fitzgerald was found unresponsive on January 11, 2014, the newspaper reported. Police were first told by her friends she had taken LSD, however it was later discovered the drug that was taken was actually 25i-NBOMe.

According to Police investigators, Claussen had given the drug to Matenaer, who in turn sold it to the other three defendants before Fitzgerald purchased it.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that, Fitzgerald, who was an honor student, asked her parents’ permission to let a friend sleep over after doing well on the ACT exam.

Her parents told the newspaper they checked her digital communications, warned against drugs and made sure she didn’t go on dates with boys.

However, her female friend took the drug with Fitzgerald during the sleepover, the newspaper reported.

Her friend heard Fitzgerald making noises and in the morning alerted her mother, who dialed both 911 and called the Fitzgeralds.

Father Thomas Fitzgerald said in court his daughter was downstairs with the friend as he and he wife were sleeping,The Woodbury Bulletin reported.

He reportedly said that the friend witnessed Tara’s overdose and contacted a pal, and fearing repercussions, did not inform him of what was happening.

‘How would you like to live with this knowledge if this had happened to your child at your house while you slept?’ Thomas Fitzgerald said.

He continued telling the judge, “Hold drug dealers accountable for my Tara’s and other people’s sons’ and daughters. These criminals should be held responsible and punished appropriately if they sell a drug that kills someone.”

According to the newspaper, Matenaer cried as Fitzgerald spoke, though Claussen ‘sat, eyes fixed straight ahead from his seat at the defense table.”

Claussen said on Friday ‘I just want to say how sorry I am to everyone involved in this situation,’ and ‘If I could take away the pain, I would,’ per The Woodbury Bulletin.

Meanwhile, Matenaer reportedly said “Words will never be able to express [the remorse.]’ he feels”

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