Three Duluth men arrested for their connection to an opioid overdose death have been charged with murder.
Seth Daniel Nelson, 30, Jesse Wayne Merrill, 29, and Artist Samuel Sanders, 30, are all charged with third-degree aiding and abetting murder and second-degree aiding and abetting manslaughter.
On Oct. 22, a 41-year-old woman was found unconscious in her residence on the 1100 block of North Central Avenue in Duluth, according to the criminal complaint.
The Midwest Medical Examiner's Office conducted an autopsy that determined the woman died accidentally from toxic effects of fentanyl and heroin.
According to the criminal complaint, children present at the scene told officers that a man named "Jesse" (Merrill) was around three days prior. Through investigations, officers found the victim had several conversations with Merrill. The victim asked Merrill to obtain heroin for her, to which Merrill agreed, the complaint states.
Merrill allegedly told law enforcement that on the evening of Oct. 21, he was with Nelson, who provided Merrill with heroin. Merrill said he and Nelson then went to the victim's residence and Nelson sold heroin to the victim.
Officers then took a statement from Nelson, who said Merrill provided the female with the heroin he provided to Merrill earlier that evening, the complaint states. Nelson allegedly said he got the heroin from Sanders earlier that afternoon.
On Oct. 22, officers conducted a controlled purchase of heroin from Sanders that tested positive for fentanyl, which was the same mixture that caused the victim's death.
The Lake Superior Drug and Violent Crime Task Force investigated the death.
All three men were scheduled to make their first appearance in Sixth District Court in Duluth on Wednesday morning.
The maximum sentence for third-degree aiding and abetting murder is 25 years in prison. Second-degree aiding and abetting manslaughter carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
Anyone looking for an alternative to substance use can contact the Opioid Response Team Hotline at 218-730-4009 for information on available resources.