A Chicago man faces between six and 30 years in prison for delivering heroin that killed a Wheaton man in 2011 in a Carol Stream apartment.
Judge Blanche Hill Fawell found Malcolm Brown, 25, guilty of drug-induced homicide Monday. She ruled that 38-year-old Stephen Briston's death was caused by heroin Brown sold to Briston's old high school friend, Richard Brown, on July 27, 2011.
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Richard Brown testified he bought the heroin from Malcolm Brown sometime on July 27 before picking up Briston and going to a third man's Carol Stream apartment, where the three men did drugs and Richard Brown gave Briston some of the heroin he had just purchased.
Briston was found dead at 6 a.m. July 28 in the apartment. His death later was ruled a heroin overdose.
Later that same day, in exchange for not being charged with drug-induced homicide, Richard Brown cooperated with police to set up Malcolm Brown for a police sting. Malcom Brown was arrested when he arrived at a Carol Stream hotel to sell Richard Brown $300 worth of heroin and had 38 bags of heroin in his pockets.
Malcolm Brown pleaded guilty to possession and was sentenced to five years in prison in that case.
Malcolm Brown's attorneys argued during the trial that while their client admitted to regularly selling heroin to Richard Brown, there is no way to confirm that Malcolm Brown's heroin was the lethal dose that killed Briston. While Briston's death was ruled a heroin overdose, officials said he also had slight traces of cocaine in his system.
They argued that during the investigation, authorities mixed the bags sold by Malcolm Brown with others found in a garbage bin behind the apartment.
Some of the other bags also contained traces of cocaine, but defense attorneys said there is no way to know which ones contained heroin and which contained cocaine because they were all packaged and tested together at the lab.
Fawell rejected the argument in her ruling.
"It is far more likely the (bags sold by Malcolm Brown) were tossed in with the others," Fawell ruled, "so I am entering a finding of guilty."
Malcolm Brown's next court appearance is scheduled for April 21 to begin the sentencing process.