Acting on a prosecutor’s motion, Chippewa County Judge James Isaacson on Thursday dismissed all local charges against a Chippewa Falls man who had been accused of first degree reckless homicide in the Nov. 22 drug overdose death of Nicholas J. Buck in Chippewa Falls.
Several other charges against Shane Paul Johnson, 40, 16056 50th Ave., were also dismissed. Those dismissed charges included manufacture/deliver heroin, possession with intent to deliver THC (marijuana), methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, and non-narcotics, with all possession charges being second offenses. Additional charges of possession of drug paraphernalia, maintaining a drug trafficking place, and two counts of possession of a firearm by a felon were also dismissed.
Assistant District Attorney Roy LaBarton Gay is handling the prosecution of the case. In court files, he wrote: “Roy La Barton Gay…hereby moves the court that the above-entitled action be dismissed without prejudice on the grounds that certain aspects of this case will be prosecuted federally. Those portions not prosecuted federally may be prosecuted by this office in the future.” Without prejudice is a legal term meaning dismissed charges can be refiled.
Johnson has been indicted in federal court in Madison and has been charged with possessing 50 grams or more of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute. That indictment said he possessed the meth on Nov. 23. If convicted, he would face a prison sentence of between five and 40 years.
District Attorney Wade Newell said prosecutors didn’t have the charges dropped because they didn’t have a case, but rather to let the federal case proceed first. If there are lingering local charges after the federal case is resolved, they can be filed, Newell said.
Johnson had been due in Chippewa County Court for a preliminary hearing at 3:30 p.m. Thursday. In a preliminary hearing, prosecutors call a witness or witnesses to show probable cause for a trial to be set.
A woman, April Jude Lonetree, is charged in Chippewa County Court in Buck’s death. Lonetree, 38, no address listed in court records, is charged with: possession of methamphetamine; maintaining a drug trafficking place; possession of a controlled substance; possess an illegally obtained prescription; two counts of child neglect; and obstructing an officer. Lonetree is scheduled to appear before Isaacson at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 17, online records show.
According to criminal complaints that were originally filed in Chippewa County:
Chippewa Falls Police were called to 1204 Warren St. at 7:24 p.m. Nov. 22 where a woman reported her friend, Buck, 40, had died from an apparent drug overdose. An injection site was found near the center of Buck’s left bicep.
A police officer was told that Shane P. Johnson may have been involved. Numerous drugs were found around the residence.
Buck’s cellphone showed he had a contact by the name of “OMACK.” One message asked if OMACK had a second point, a reference to a dosage unit for heroin. OMACK responded he “just got a bunch.”
Shane P. Johnson’s vehicle was stopped, and he was arrested. Lonetree, Johnson’s girlfriend, was also in the vehicle.
A search warrant was used to search Johnson’s residence. Numerous drugs and paraphernalia were found, along with a Walter 9MM PPK pistol and 16 rounds of ammunition.