JUNEAU — A 41-year-old Beaver Dam man was found guilty Wednesday of reckless homicide in a nearly 3-year-old drug overdose death.
A 12-person jury deliberated for three hours and brought back the verdicts of guilty of first-degree reckless homicide and bail jumping against Jason L. Thompson in the death of James Hook, a Reeseville man who was 62 when he died in early 2016.
Dodge County Circuit Court Judge Steven Bauer scheduled a sentencing in the case for May 1.
Hook’s autopsy revealed multi-drug toxicity as the cause of death, with cardiomegaly and emphysema listed as other significant conditions. One of the drugs in his system was heroin.
Thompson, Hook and another man Leroy Stalker went to Madison on Feb. 9, 2016, to purchase heroin after pooling their money together.
The jury requested cellphone records detailing communications between the three men before and after the heroin pickup.
The last text on Hook’s phone allegedly came from Thompson, and Hook’s last text from his phone was to Thompson. Stalker had also sent texts to Hook. Stalker was questioned by police and said that Thompson had sold heroin to Hook.
Hook was was pronounced dead by a Dodge County medical examiner at his home following a 911 call on Feb. 9, 2016 at 10:40 p.m. Dodge County Sheriff’s Office deputies found several prescription drug bottles on his coffee table. The prescription appeared to be pain relievers.
Dodge County District Attorney’s Office managing attorney Robert Barrington told the jury that Stalker had been nervous when he testified on Tuesday, but he gave a more honest testimony than Thompson, who took the stand the same day.
Thompson’s attorney, John Smerlinski, agreed the testimony of the eyewitnesses was central in the case.
“Credibility is on display in determining whose version you will believe,” Smerlinski said to the jury in his closing argument.
Smerlinski said Stalker appeared nervous because he feared he would be charged with a crime.
“Mr. Stalker has yet to be charged with anything in this trial,” Smerlinski said.
Barrington “doesn’t know who delivered the heroin,” Smerlinski said. “And the reason I can say that is I can’t say either.”
Barrington said Thompson provided the only testimony in which Thompson was innocent.
“Who has more at stake in this trial than Mr. Thompson?” Barrington said.
Thompson remains in custody in the Dodge County Jail.