Bloomington teen sentenced for fentanyl death of 15-year-old girl

Judge gavel, scales of justice and law books in court. (Brian A. Jackson/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

A 19-year-old Bloomington man was sentenced Thursday after he sold pills containing fentanyl to a 15-year-old girl, causing her death. 

Parker Jay Benson was sentenced in a Dakota County court to 180 days in jail and up to 10 years of probation after pleading guilty to third-degree murder in February. Benson also has to complete a substance-use treatment program. 

According to a press release from the Dakota County Attorney's Office, on April 20, 2022, West St. Paul officers responded to a home just before 1 a.m. on reports of a girl who was unconscious and not breathing. 

The girl's mother had found her face down, on her bed with a blue pill beside her, the release said. Her mother started CPR and called 911. The 15-year-old was taken to the hospital, where she later died. 

The girl's cause of death was determined to be fentanyl toxicity by the Ramsey County Medical Examiner's Office, the attorney's office said. 

Through the investigation, messages were found on the girl's phone between her and Benson, where they made an arrangement for Benson to sell her four pills. 

"Today’s [Thursday's] sentencing is unfortunate and a disappointment as a young girl lost her life due to the actions of Mr. Benson," said Dakota County Attorney Kathy Keena. "Dakota County is not immune to illicit fentanyl poisoning and it’s taking too many young lives in our community. My deepest sympathies to the victim’s family members, friends and loved ones."