Autopsy results pending in synthetic drug death

2:56 PM, Oct 29, 2011   |    comments
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ANOKA, Minn. -- The murder trial of a 21-year-old Minnesota man accused of providing a synthetic drug to another man who died after taking the chemical at a party is being postponed because final autopsy results on the victim are pending.

At a pretrial hearing Friday for Timothy LaMere, of Blaine, Anoka County prosecutor Paul Young said because testing for synthetic drugs is so new, there is only one lab in the U.S. that can test a victim's body for evidence of 2C-E.

Prosecutors believe LaMere gave that drug to 19-year-old Trevor Vance Robinson, who died March 17. Ten other people who took the drug at the party in Blaine became sick. LaMere is charged with unintentional third-degree murder.

Young said the lab at the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension tested a powdery substance in LaMere's possession and determined it was 2C-E. But, he said, testing for the drug in a victim's body - after blood transfusions and resuscitation efforts - is different.

Young said a lab in Colorado that can test for 2C-E in the human body will do more work. He said prosecutors are confident they can prove Robinson ingested a drug in the same family as 2C-E, and don't need to prove that he ingested 2C-E specifically.
But defense attorney Brad Zunker said it's hard to advise his client when there is no final autopsy report.

"The consequences to him are enormous, not just at the state level but with the federal government," Zunker said. "We get plasma sent to a lab in Colorado in August. ... They're still not sure what's in the decedent's blood."

Anoka County Judge Alan Pendleton took the trial off the calendar for Nov. 14 and set another pretrial hearing for Nov. 30.

The criminal complaint said LaMere arrived at the party with a bottle containing a substance that he said would cause hallucinations. Witnesses told police LaMere offered the drug to anyone who wanted it, and that LaMere and Robinson both inhaled it through their noses.

The complaint said Robinson began "punching walls, breaking items, staring and having dilated pupils and yelling." Then, Robinson stopped breathing and was taken to the hospital, where he died.

Preliminary autopsy results said Robinson died of cardiac arrest attributed to drug toxicity.

Officials say 2C-E can be bought online and was illegal at the time of Robinson's death because it is a "cousin drug" to a banned rave-party drug. U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar has since introduced legislation to specifically ban it, and state lawmakers have made it illegal.

Under sentencing guidelines, LaMere faces a maximum of nine years, nine months if convicted. He could face even stiffer penalties if prosecuted in federal court, which is possible. A spokeswoman with the U.S. Attorney's wouldn't confirm or deny the existence of a federal investigation.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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