JEFFERSON — A 53-year-old Madison woman charged with delivering the heroin that claimed the life of her boyfriend in 2017 has been delayed due to injuries in falls by both herself and the assigned prosecutor.
Michelle Rodriguez is charged with one count of first-degree reckless homicide by delivery of drugs and one count of delivering heroin that ultimately killed her boyfriend, Robert W. Daveler, 35 of Lake Mills, in 2017.
Rodriguez had entered a dual plea of not guilty and not guilty by reason of mental disease. A final status conference had been scheduled for Thursday with a jury trial set for Feb. 13 and 14.
At Thursday’s status conference in Jefferson County Circuit Court, which Rodriguez did not attend, her assigned public defender, Jeffrey De La Rosa, said his client had suffered a fall and was unable to make it to court. He added that she had sought medical attention and was available by telephone if Judge William Gruber wished to speak with her.
Assistant District Attorney Jeffrey Shock was at the hearing to substitute for Assistant District Attorney Brookellen Teuber.
Shock said Teuber had something similar happen and would be unavailable for next week’s scheduled trial, so he was requesting a continuance in the case. Teuber, according to the District Attorney’s Office, slipped and fell on a patch of ice Monday and hit her head.
Gruber granted the request for a continuance and scheduled a final status conference for May 4 at 8:30 a.m. The trial has been reset for May 7 and 8.
Judge Gruber did not take any action because of Rodriguez’s non-appearance in court Thursday, but did require her to appear at any subsequent hearings.
This is not the first time this case has been delayed on the eve of trial.
A final status conference was held Sept. 17, 2019, with a jury trial scheduled for the following week. At that conference, De La Rosa entered the NGI plea, which caused a delay in the case as Rodriguez was psychologically evaluated.
According to the criminal complaint, Lake Mills police were dispatched to an apartment in the 300 block of North Main Street at 10:35 a.m. on March 1, 2017.
Rodriguez told police that her boyfriend was dead in the living room, according to the complaint.
Rodriguez allegedly admitted that she got out some heroin and cooked it up for Daveler and pulled it into a syringe with some water. She told police that she went back into the living room and tossed the filled syringe at Daveler. He reportedly accused her of filling it just with water.
The complaint states that upon further conversation with police, she told them that she gave Daveler two small rocks of heroin.
She told authorities that she tried to wake up Daveler, but he was unresponsive. She stated that she thought he was breathing and he was warm to the touch, so she returned to her room for the rest of the night.
Rodriguez stated that she did not find him deceased until she awoke around 9:30 a.m. on March 1.
Rodriguez’s criminal background includes convictions for forgery, credit card fraud, issuance of worthless checks and other charges across Rock, Dane and Walworth counties.
If convicted in her boyfriend’s heroin death, she faces a maximum sentence of 52 years in prison and a $125,000 fine.