Just five months after the Second District Appellate Court affirmed her drug-induced homicide conviction, the Illinois Supreme Court will hear a former Summit woman's appeal for a new trial for her role in the 2012 death of 31-year-old Augustina Taylor of Wheaton.
Jennifer Nere, 37, was found guilty after a four-day trial in August 2014 in DuPage County of one count of drug-induced homicide for supplying Taylor with what proved to be a fatal dose of heroin. She was sentenced in October of that year to nine years in prison. Her scheduled parole date is May 12, 2020.
Authorities said Nere went to Taylor's house in June 2012 to deliver the heroin and then left. Taylor ingested the heroin inside her bathroom and her son discovered her body on the bathroom floor a short time later.
Her death was ruled an overdose from a mixture of cocaine and heroin.
In her appeal, Nere argued that the trial court erred in giving several improper jury instructions while refusing other instructions. Nere also argued she was not proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
In the appeal, filed by her attorney, David Gaughan, Nere is asking that the conviction be overturned and she be granted a new trial.
According to court documents, the Appellate Court found the jury instructions "violated the United States Constitution" but also that it did not think Judge Daniel Guerin "abused his discretion and that the error was not reversible."
Regarding Nere's claim that she was not proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, the Appellate Court said "Taylor's request for heroin on the day of her death meant that she was out of heroin at the time" and that "the jury's verdict was supported by proof beyond a reasonable doubt."
Paul Darrah, spokesman for DuPage County State's Attorney Robert Berlin, said his office stands by the conviction
"We will not be making any comments regarding this new development in the case," Darrah said.
A date for the appeal to be heard before the Supreme Court has not yet been set.