A 46-year-old Fort Atkinson man was found guilty Thursday of first-degree reckless homicide for the overdose death of his 21-year-old nephew.
A jury deliberated for an hour and found Kenneth M. Strese guilty of giving his nephew, Cameron J. Strese, the heroin that ended up killing him, according to court records.
The jury trial began on July 12 lasting four days with the verdict delivered at 11:15 a.m. Thursday.
The charge carries a maximum prison sentence of 60 years.
Shortly before noon on Nov. 13, 2016, Fort Atkinson Police officers were called to a home in the 500 block of Maple Street because of an unresponsive 21-year-old man.
When police arrived, they went down to a basement bedroom where they saw Cameron Strese — a 2011 Fort Atkinson High School graduate — on his back in bed and not breathing.
After Cameron’s death was confirmed by the medical examiner at 12:28 p.m., officers began to search the room. In the search, police found drug paraphernalia and drugs — including LSD and multiple forms of cannabis, according to the criminal complaint.
An autopsy performed by the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office showed Cameron’s lungs were congested and there was a frothy fluid coming out of his mouth, which is consistent with a drug overdose, but toxicology results were needed to confirm.
Dr. Wieslawa Tlomak, who conducted the autopsy, told police she believed heroin was the cause of Cameron’s death, the 2019 criminal complaint states.
Tests also found THC and LSD in his blood but, according to the complaint, that “did not change the finding that heroin was a substantial factor in Cameron’s death.”
The police then spent the next two and a half years trying to piece together what Cameron did in the hours leading up to his death and where he got the heroin.
The complaint states Kenneth skipped two scheduled meetings with police and eventually was interviewed Dec. 14, 2017 after detectives stopped him on the street.
During this interview, Kenneth told police he was a heavy heroin user but never had used the drug with Cameron, according to the complaint.
Kenneth also told detectives that the pair had once gone to Madison together to buy drugs and that trip ended with Cameron being treated with nasal Narcan, according to the complaint.
In June of 2018, detectives made two big breaks in the case.
On June 4 and 14, Police spoke to an individual who “wanted to remain anonymous,” according to the complaint. This individual told police they are “really good friends” with the person who gave Cameron the heroin.
That same month, police gained access to Cameron’s phone which showed texts with “Uncle Ken” about using cannabis and heroin, the complaint states.
Kenneth Strese was arrested Aug. 21, 2019 and made a statement to police, according to the complaint. In the statement, Kenneth said he didn’t sell the heroin to Cameron but it was purchased at Kenneth’s house.
Kenneth also admitted to using the same heroin Cameron had bought, the complaint states.
Kenneth will be sentenced at 2 p.m. on Sept. 24.