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Minnesota woman sentenced for smuggling meth to boyfriend in prison; he later died from overdose

FARIBAULT, Minn. -- An Alexandria, Minn., woman who smuggled in methamphetamine capsules into the state prison at Faribault that later killed her boyfriend was sentenced to seven years in prison Friday.

Melissa Rae Guillette, 34, had pleaded guilty earlier to third-degree murder in the death of Jason Nyberg at the Minnesota Correctional Facility in Faribault.

Guillette, the mother of four children, also was charged with importing controlled substances into a correctional facility, which was dismissed as part of a plea.

Nyberg, 36, was found unresponsive in his prison cell on Sept. 5, and an autopsy revealed the cause of death was methamphetamine overdose. An investigation revealed that Nyberg had ingested gelatin capsules filled with methamphetamine. Those pills were passed to Nyberg by Guillette who brought them in in her back pocket during a visit about three hours before his death. The passing of the capsules was caught on camera.

Two days after the death, a search warrant was executed at Guillette’s residence, which led law enforcement to a large amount of methamphetamine and similar gelatin capsules. Guillette admitted to providing Nyberg with two capsules of methamphetamine shortly before his death.

Due to Guillette accepting responsibility at the earliest opportunity, Rice County Attorney John Fossum asked for a "bottom of the box" or lightest possible sentence, as did defense attorney Stephen Ecker.

But Rice County Judge Thomas Neuville felt differently and sentenced Guillette to 84 months at the Minnesota Correctional Facility in Shakopee.

"The court sincerely hopes you take advantage of programs offered," he said, noting specific programs related to substance abuse.

A visibly upset Guillette argued that the recommendation from her plea-bargain should have been followed.

"I'm not a cold-hearted killer," she said in Friday hearing. "I made a bad choice ...  I didn't plan to go into to prison and having him die."

Guillette also has charges pending against her in Douglas County. Two of her children have been adopted, while the other two are in temporary custody of her sisters-in-law.

Brad Phenow of the Faribault Daily News contributed to this report.

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