Madison man charged with reckless homicide for Park Street overdose death
A Madison man was charged Tuesday with reckless homicide after police said he sold drugs to another man causing that man’s overdose death in March in the restroom of a South Park Street restaurant.
Terrance T. Gullens, 39, was charged with first-degree reckless homicide for the March 23 death of George Polzine, who was found dead in a bathroom stall at Ichiban, 610 S. Park St.
A criminal complaint states that Gullens was arrested in December after police made several undercover heroin purchases from him. According to the complaint, the same phone number Gullens used during those transactions was called by Polzine just hours before he died.
A signature bond was set for Gullens during a court appearance Tuesday, likely because Gullens is on probation for a prior felony drug conviction and is being held by the state Department of Corrections for a suspected probation violation.
According to the complaint:
Police were sent to Ichiban after it was reported a man had been in the bathroom for two hours. Polzine was found inside. Police also found a heroin cooker, syringes and a small baggie containing a substance that was found to contain heroin, fentanyl and other compounds.
An autopsy found that Polzine died from mixed drug intoxication, including fentanyl.
Madison police detective Matthew Nordquist spoke to Gullens on Dec. 20, after he had been arrested for selling heroin to an undercover officer four times in the South Park Street area, between Nov. 28 and Dec. 20.
During the interview, Gullens brought up Polzine, telling Nordquist, “That little situation with George Polzine, that was just me calling a (expletive). I was in a situation and I just called a (expletive) so I could get some money. That’s it. Other than that, I don’t know (expletive) about that (expletive).”
Phone records for Polzine showed that he had made a 15-second call from his phone to Gullens’ phone on March 23, about four hours before police found his body.
Polzine had acted as a police informant in the past, police said, though he wasn’t doing that at the time he died, and had bought heroin from Gullens.