JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow announces that a Dwight man was sentenced Friday to eight years in prison for selling heroin to a 19-year-old girl who died from an overdose in Wilmington in 2013.
Joseph P. Alksnis, 26, pleaded guilty on Friday to one count of Drug Induced Homicide. He also pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful delivery of a controlled substance to an undercover police officer and received a 10-year sentence that will be served concurrently with the Drug Induced Homicide sentence. He was sentenced by Judge David Carlson.
The victim, Heather Watson, 19, of Braidwood, was found dead inside her mother’s vehicle outside an apartment complex on East Kahler Road in Wilmington on March 28, 2013. An autopsy revealed she died of a heroin overdose.
Wilmington police analyzed the victim’s cell phone and discovered she had been in contact with an individual who lived inside the apartment complex. The police investigation would reveal that the victim and this individual had purchased the heroin from Alksnis for $40. They injected the heroin together, after which Watson drove this individual back to the apartment complex where she was later found dead.
“My office has charged 17 Drug Induced Homicide cases since 2009 as the heroin epidemic was starting to explode. Joseph Alksnis is the 10th defendant to receive a prison sentence for dealing this deadly poison, while the remaining cases are pending in court,” said State’s Attorney Glasgow. “These cases are often extremely difficult to investigate, but our police departments and my office are committed to taking heroin dealers off our streets and ending this public health crisis.”
The 10 defendants who have gone to prison are serving sentences that total 73.5 years for Drug Induced Homicide or related drug dealing charges. One case was dismissed when a key witness died before trial. Six cases are pending in court.
The State’s Attorney credited the Wilmington Police Department for pursuing an aggressive investigation and Assistant State’s Attorneys Peter Wilkes and Erin Krone for securing a prison sentence in this case.