Charges: Woman sold heroin that led to 3 overdose deaths

- A Maplewood woman is charged with third-degree murder — for the third time. On Wednesday, Hennepin County prosecutors charged Beverly Burrell with providing heroin that led to the overdose death of a man in Eden Prairie, Minn. in September 2015.

Burrell had already been charged with providing heroin that killed two young men this year, including the death of Luke Ronnei in Chanhassen.

Colleen Ronnei, the mother of Luke, told Fox 9 she first told police about Burrell in June 2015, describing a dealer who went by the name “ice,” and that she provided a vehicle make and phone number. 

“It was very frustrating it took almost a year to arrest her,” Colleen said, noting that she mentioned the dealer to police a second time in September when her son told her about a young man dying after using Burrell’s drugs.

In May 2016, prosecutors charged Burrell in connection with the deaths of Luke and another man. On Wednesday, prosecutors filed the third charge in connection with the first death back in September 2015.

Colleen said the arrests of dealers reduces the chances of addicts relapsing following treatment. She said her son suffered from anxiety and had battled heroin addiction for a couple years, often using anti-opioid medication.

“It’s not a crime to have an addiction. And it is a crime to sell drugs that contribute to people’s deaths,” Colleen said.

Colleen said she hopes sharing the story of Luke encourages others to have conversations with loved ones who might be battling addiction.

“I think to honor these people who are struggling you have to let them know they’re not bad people. They’re fighting a battle and they’re doing it daily. And instead of being judged harshly, they should be lifted up,” Colleen said.

“It was really sad that [Luke] was always tying to help other people, but couldn’t get through it himself. But I believe he’s still helping people because Luke lived so big, he’s allowed us to not be fearful about sharing his story and maybe changing it for someone else,” Colleen added.

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