Drug overdose murder trial set to start

April 24, 2018

KANKAKEE — The murder trial of Javonta Davis was set to start today at the Kankakee County Courthouse.

The 25-year-old Davis is charged for allegedly selling fentanyl-laced heroin that killed at least one person in November 2016.

He was arrested April 2017 after being indicted by a Kankakee County grand jury.

The trial is expected to last all week.

On Friday, a motion to continue by Davis’ attorney Bart Beals was denied by Judge Clark Erickson.

Beals argued he needed time to listen to a recording of a phone call involving his client. He received the recording last week.

Kankakee County State’s Attorney Jim Rowe and Assistant State’s Attorney Bill Dickenson are prosecuting the case.

Drug-induced homicide is a Class X felony, carrying six to 30 years in prison.

Officials are declining to name the victim in this case.

The last drug-induced homicide case in Kankakee County was against a 23-year-old woman who allegedly gave her date too much methadone. A jury acquitted her in 2007. The previous case, dating to 2004, involved a man accused of giving a woman a fatal amount of cocaine. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2006.

Drug-induced homicide cases are very difficult to prove. The key witness is dead and prosecutors are tasked with proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the narcotic in question came from the defendant.

In March 2017, Joseph P. Alksnis, of Dwight, was sentenced to eight years in prison for selling heroin to a 19-year-old Braidwood woman who later died from an overdose in Wilmington in 2013.

The 27-year-old Alksnis pleaded guilty in Will County court to one count of drug-induced homicide. He also pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful delivery of a controlled substance to an undercover police officer and received a 10-year sentence that will be served concurrently.

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