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updated: 9/25/2013 4:54 AM

Woman charged with homicide after friend's heroin death in Wheaton

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A South suburban woman has been charged with drug-induced homicide for supplying the heroin that killed a friend in Wheaton, prosecutors said Tuesday.

DuPage County Judge Elizabeth Sexton set bail at $300,000 for Jennifer Nere, 33, of Summit, who also faces charges of unlawful delivery of a controlled substance.

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Authorities said Nere sold heroin to 32-year-old Wheaton resident Augustina Taylor during the late night hours of June 26. The next morning, Taylor's son found her dead of an apparent overdose on their bathroom floor.

Nere is accused of providing the heroin at the victim's request. She was taken into custody Monday after being released from the Cook County jail, where she had been held since Aug. 24 on unrelated charges, according to a news release.

DuPage State's Attorney Bob Berlin said the case is representative of an "alarming increase" in heroin use within the county recently.

"With 72 heroin deaths in the past 20 months in DuPage County alone, heroin has become a public health issue of epidemic proportions," he said, offering his condolences to the victim's family.

Wheaton Police Cmdr. Jim Volpe said the charges send a "strong message" to anyone selling heroin in DuPage.

"With the state's attorney's support and guidance, we will look at every drug overdose death, especially heroin-related overdoses, with drug-induced homicide charges in mind," he said.

Drug induced homicide is a high-level felony typically punishable by up to 30 years in prison. Nere's arraignment is set for Oct. 1 in front of Judge Daniel Guerin.

She would have to post $30,000 to be released.

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