A Waukesha woman who gave her nephew prescription pills the night he died of an opioid overdose in March 2015 will spend the next 18 months in prison, a Waukesha County circuit judge ruled recently.
Judge Lloyd Carter issued that sentence on March 16 for Susan Johnson, 56, who pleaded guilty to to an amended felony charge of manufacturing or delivering schedule II narcotics on Jan. 3. Johnson was originally accused of first-degree reckless homicide for giving her 39-year-old nephew, Shawn Petrie, three Adderall pills the night of his fatal overdose.
The reckless homicide charge, which was filed against her in July 2015, was reduced as part of a plea agreement, according to court records.
A criminal complaint said Johnson and Petrie took the Adderall together after drinking at Petrie's Waukesha apartment in the 1600 block of Swartz Drive. A medial examiner later determined Petrie died of an oxycodone intoxication.
Johnson reportedly woke up early in the morning on March 21 and noticed Petrie wasn't breathing. She said in the complaint that she waited three or four minutes before calling police after making that discovery, and, when questioned about why she hesitated, could not provide an answer.
She told officers in the complaint that she visited Petrie that night with the intention of sharing the Adderall with him.
In addition to the prison term, Carter sentenced Johnson to two years of extended supervision, court records show. Conditions of that supervision include absolute sobriety, a requirement that Johnson submit to random drug screens and a mandate for her to maintain employment.
In a letter to the court, filed about three weeks before the sentencing, Petrie's wife said her grief at her husband's loss was "indescribable," and discussed at length the impact of Petrie's death on the couple's 3-year-old daughter.
"My little girl deserved to have her daddy there for every milestone in her life," she wrote. "Now she has to deal with her friends and cousins asking if her dad died and why. At 3 years old, these aren't questions she should be faced with.
"It is simply heartbreaking," she continued, "and it didn't have to be this way."