Trial scheduled for Watertown woman charged with homicide

July 28, 2018

JUNEAU — A three-day jury trial has been set for a 49-year-old Watertown woman who is charged with first-degree reckless homicide charges following the drug overdose death of a 16-year-old boy.

Debra L. Patroelj faces 40 years in prison and a $100,000 fine if convicted of the charge. She is free on a $1,000 cash bond.

John E. Teuteberg died Jan. 25, 2016, from a drug overdose in a friend’s bedroom at a Watertown residence, according to the criminal complaint. An autopsy revealed that he died from using methadone.

According to a criminal complaint, a relative of Teuteberg said that she had heard from one of his friends that Teuteberg had purchased pills and marijuana from a woman and that she was told that Teuteberg had taken all six of the pills. Another witness was interviewed and said that Patroelj had shown up the night before Teuteberg died at his friend’s house.

Watertown police spoke to Patroelj, who allegedly admitted that she bought $5 of marijuana from Teuteberg the night of his death. She denied having methadone. She also said that her cellphone was stolen or lost after Teuteberg’s death.

A search warrant was obtained for Patroelj’s cellphone number, cellphone pings and Teuteberg’s cell number as well. On Teuteberg’s phone, police were able to see that Teuteberg researched methadone the night before he died. According to the criminal complaint, police were able to see messages that the two sent to each other on Facebook and saw on his phone that he had added her as a contact the night he died.

The trial is set to begin Feb. 12.

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