JEFFERSON — A 45-year-old Fort Atkinson man accused of delivering the heroin that caused the overdose death of his 21-year-old nephew appeared in Jefferson County Circuit Court Thursday.
Kenneth M. Strese has been charged with one count of first-degree reckless homicide and one count of manufacturing or delivering less than three grams of heroin. If convicted, Strese faces a maximum sentence of 72 years in prison.
In court on Thursday, Strese made his initial appearance on the drug delivery charge — which was added a few weeks after the reckless homicide charge was filed in August.
For the heroin delivery charge, a signature bond was set at $500 with the conditions that he not possess or consume any alcohol or controlled substances, take prescription medications only as prescribed and not have any presence in bars, taverns or liquor stores.
The $500 signature bond in the heroin charge is in addition to the $5,000 signature bond Strese already had posted on the homicide charge.
In the hearing, the court addressed a motion made by Strese’s defense attorney, Peter Anderson, to compel the prosecution to disclose the name of a confidential informant.
Assistant District Attorney Monica Hall said the state intended to divulge the name of the informant as part of routine evidence discovery. Judge William Hue said Hall’s promise made on the record in open court was adequate and that he would not need to make a court order to compel the state to release the name.
The confidential informant came forward almost two years after the death of Cameron J. Strese in November 2016.
The informant reportedly told police Kenneth was the source of Cameron’s heroin and that Cameron’s father, Willard Strese, had removed a bag of heroin from Cameron’s nightstand before his room was searched by police, according to the criminal complaint.
When approaching the police, the informant said he “wanted to remain anonymous” because he was “really good friends” with Strese, according to the complaint.
The informant was essential to connecting Kenneth to the heroin because police had spent nearly two years wading through a complicated web of conflicting stories and reports from members of Cameron’s family and friends about what had happened that night.
About a week after the informant came forward, Fort Atkinson Police Department detectives gained access to Cameron’s text messages after an analysis from the Wisconsin State Crime Lab, the complaint states.
These text messages showed Cameron and Kenneth discussing how much heroin Cameron could take, according to the complaint. Cameron got the heroin the two were talking about from Kenneth’s house, the complaint states.
The next day, Cameron was found dead in his bedroom.
Kenneth is scheduled to next appear in court for a status conference on the homicide charge and preliminary hearing on the drug charge Tuesday, Dec. 3, at 8:30 a.m.