JUNEAU — A Dodge County jury found a 29-year-old Beaver Dam man guilty Thursday of delivering the fatal dose of heroin to a 25-year-old Juneau man nearly two years ago.
Brian Larson II was found guilty of reckless homicide and bail jumping. The jury found Larson not guilty of manufacturing and delivering heroin and an additional bail jumping charge.
According to testimony in the case, Dakoda Kline had fallen victim to opioid addiction after being prescribed narcotics for injuries sustained in a traffic accident in 2012. His body was found on April 9, 2017, in his van, which was still running in Beaver Dam’s Oakwood Cemetery.
“There are only two possibilities,” Dodge County Assistant District Attorney Yolanda Tienstra said during closing statements. “The state’s explanation that it was a heroin deal or the defendant with the fish story.”
Larson took the stand on Thursday and said that he got home from Milwaukee, where he owned an auto garage and watched television before he went to bed on April 7, 2017. On April 8, he went fishing before going to work in Milwaukee at his auto shop for a few hours. He returned to his mother’s home, where he showered and changed before going shopping at Aldi’s and returning home to cook supper.
“We then watched ‘Vampire Diaries’ on Netflix,” Larson said. “It was my favorite show at the time.”
Larson said the reason he had been contacting Kline repeatedly on the day of his death is because he stopped at Sharks Fish and Chicken in Milwaukee and had told Kline he would bring him back a catfish dinner.
Larson said that he had been friends with Kline for 10 years.
“We went fishing numerous times, hunting and stuff like that,” Larson said.
It was not uncommon for the two to call each other numerous times during the day just to check up, Larson said.
Kline’s fiancée, Britney Stedman, returned to the stand Thursday and said she did not believe Larson and Kline were good friends and that she had never met him.
Tienstra noted during her closing that on April 8, the last day Kline was seen alive, there were 19 calls and texts between him and Larson between 7:26 a.m. and 4:40 p.m.
“This isn’t 14-year-old teenage girls,” Tienstra said. “These are men in their 20s who had lives.”
Larson’s attorney, John Smerlinski, said there was no evidence that Larson had gone to Milwaukee to buy heroin.
“They cannot prove Mr. Larson delivered heroin,” Smerlinski said during his closing. “They have no evidence.”
Smerlinski said that the charge for manufacturing or delivering heroin had many errors. Larson had been accused of selling heroin to a confidential informant in Beaver Dam. However, the informant purchased the drug at someone else’s home and there was no recordings of the purchase.
Larson’s bond was revoked. He has been in the Dodge County Jail since February. His sentencing is scheduled for June 5.