Drug Overdose May Bring Criminal Charges Prosecutors Are Expected to Say Naperville Man Caused Girl's Death

By Gutowski, Christy | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), December 19, 2000 | Go to article overview
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Drug Overdose May Bring Criminal Charges Prosecutors Are Expected to Say Naperville Man Caused Girl's Death


Gutowski, Christy, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Byline: Christy Gutowski Daily Herald Legal Affairs Writer

A DuPage County grand jury today will consider whether Garrett Harth caused the drug-overdose death of one of his closest friends.

Harth, 21, has been under intense police scrutiny since Sara Aeschlimann overdosed last spring in the basement of his parents' Naperville home.

Prosecutors Joseph Ruggiero and Justin Fitzsimmons are expected to present evidence today to a grand jury that suggests the young woman did not voluntarily ingest all of the drugs. If indicted, the charge most likely would be involuntary manslaughter.

Aeschlimann, an 18-year-old Naperville Central High School senior, died May 14 after swallowing six times the lethal limit of PMA - the toxic lookalike hallucinogen she, Harth and another friend mistook for the club drug Ecstasy.

Harth has not been charged with her death. But he was arrested days after she died on various drug charges.

Two jailhouse informants since then have told prosecutors Harth admitted to crushing up four pills - Aeschlimann took a total of seven - and secretly slipping them into a glass of water after she rejected his sexual advances.

Harth's attorney, Daniel Collins, said he is aware the grand jury will consider additional charges such as involuntary manslaughter while meeting today behind closed doors.

He argues the informants are unreliable criminals who receive lenient prosecution for their cooperation.

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