Bartlett man pleads guilty to drug-induced homicide

  • Joseph P. Pryor

    Joseph P. Pryor

Updated 6/25/2021 4:57 PM

A Bartlett man has agreed to a 12-year prison sentence in exchange for pleading guilty to the drug-induced homicide of a woman in July 2018.

Joseph P. Pryor, 44, of the 2000 block of Westridge Boulevard, entered the plea Thursday in Kane County court.


On July 5, 2018, Pryor delivered heroin to 30-year-old Katherine A. Gehlhaar. She was found dead the next morning in her home on Palomino Drive near Campton Hills. Heroin and fentanyl intoxication contributed to her death, according to an autopsy.

He will have to serve at least 75% of the sentence. He will receive credit for the almost four years he has spent in the Kane County jail awaiting trial.

"The offense of drug-induced homicide continues to be a useful tool in investigating crimes involving drug overdoses and in getting justice for families permanently harmed by the illegal drug trade. It also saves lives by taking heroin dealers off the street," assistant state's attorney Kelly Orland said in a news release.

The charge in Gehlhaar's death came, in part, from a traffic stop near Route 25 and Red Gate Road near St. Charles in which Pryor was talking on a cellphone. Police officers said when Pryor reached in to the center console to get his license and insurance card, they noticed heroin packets and a hypodermic needle in the console. Pryor also said he had seven packets in the handle of a screwdriver, according to an application for a search warrant of Pryor's cellphone.

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Police seized 2.8 grams of heroin, and noted each packet had a basketball or blue star logo. Packets with the same logos were found near Gehlhaar's body, authorities said.

Pryor served prison time after a 2010 arrest for dealing Ecstasy.

He has been convicted of robbery in Arizona, aggravated battery in Indiana, and unlawful delivery and unlawful possession of controlled substances in Kane County.

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