7-year sentence in South Elgin heroin overdose death
A South Elgin woman was sentenced to seven years in prison Wednesday after being convicted of drug-induced homicide in the April 2013 death of Abby Nordmeyer, 24.
Andrea R. Nielsen faced up to 30 years in prison after a jury returned a guilty verdict in 40 minutes in January.
Nielsen, 25, apologized to Nordmeyer's family and her own, promising to better herself during her incarceration and be a daughter, mom and sister to be proud of.
"I wish I could switch places with Abby. I ask God 'Why her?' every day," a tearful Nielsen said. "Nothing I can say could change what happened. The only thing I can do is live my life in honor of her."
Nielsen must serve 75 percent, or about 5½ years of the sentence imposed by Judge Susan Clancy Boles.
According to prosecutors, Nielsen and her boyfriend, Nicholas Allen, of Batavia, went to buy drugs in Chicago April 4, 2013, and brought heroin to Nordmeyer's home in South Elgin.
The three used heroin there and went to sleep, but when Allen woke up the next day, Nordmeyer was dead from an overdose, prosecutors said.
Allen, 23, pleaded guilty in April 2014 and was sentenced to eight years in prison.
Amanda Nordmeyer testified she can't imagine growing old without her sister and will miss celebrating milestone moments along with simple times, like "sister talk."
"This has been the worst broken heart I will ever have," she said. "This has broken my soul."
Defense attorney Ron Dolak argued for the minimum six-year term. He said the drug-induce homicide law was designed to punish dealers, not addicts like Nielsen.
"Sometimes an accident is simply that, an accident," Dolak said. "Who's going to be deterred here? Addicts will be addicts. They're going to keep using drugs until something bad happens. What (the law) says to these people is if your friend is passed out -- get out of Dodge."
Assistant State's Attorney Mick Gaeke pushed for a 13-year term. He argued Nielsen had a long history of drug use, violated probation or court supervision as least five times and became part of the drug supply chain when she brought the heroin to Nordmeyer's home.
Gaeke also noted Allen overdosed about a month before Nordmeyer's death.
"This defendant knew what this drug could do and could do to other people," Gaeke said. "That heroin did not magically appear at Abby Nordmeyer's home."
Nordmeyer's death was one of 22 fatal heroin overdoses in Kane County in 2013.
Last year, 18 heroin overdose deaths were declared by the Kane County coroner's office.
The coroner's office has confirmed two heroin overdose deaths so far this year, but that number could increase as toxicology results from other cases are completed, officials said.