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updated: 5/20/2014 2:25 PM

Evanston woman on trial in fatal overdose of Vernon Hills girl

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  • Michelle Lee

    Michelle Lee


An Evanston woman who prosecutors said sold $10 of heroin that killed a 15-year-old Vernon Hills High School student in 2011 went on trial Tuesday.

However, defense attorney Lawrence Sommers told jurors that prosecutors must prove it was a controlled substance delivered by Michelle Lee the day before that resulted in the girl's death.

"What the state is asking you to accept are some unknown unknowns," Sommers told the jury during opening statements before Judge Mark Levitt. "The state has only presented you with a story and some facts that they expect the evidence will show in the end."

Assistant State's Attorney Jim Newman said the victim was among three teens who bought $40 worth of heroin from Lee, now 21. The girls drove to Lee's Gurnee apartment Oct. 6, 2011, purchased the heroin, and drove to a Libertyville park where they split up the drug and ingested it, Newman told the jury.

Minutes after taking the heroin, the victim stopped breathing and paramedics were called in and resuscitated her, Newman said. She was taken to an area hospital, treated, and released, he said.

After falling asleep that night, the girl stopped breathing, Newman said, and she was pronounced dead Oct. 7.

After an investigation, police learned the girls purchased the heroin from Lee, Newman said, and she was charged in January 2012 with felony delivery of a controlled substance, schedule 1 and 2, Newman said. If found guilty, she could be sentenced to three to seven years in prison.

Newman said during his opening statements that Lee sent texts to those involved in the case instructing them to erase their text messages about the drug sale. Investigators were able to retrieve the messages, he said.

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