Rock County man whose fentanyl-laced heroin killed a young woman sentenced to seven years in prison

JANESVILLE, Wis. – The Rock County man who sold fentanyl-laced heroin that took the life of a young woman was sentenced to seven years in prison, followed by ten years of extended supervision.

Chaz Harris, of Beloit, appeared in Rock County court Friday afternoon.

In May of 2019, police detectives linked a December 2018 overdose death to drugs he had been selling at the time.

“This is a very serious crime,” said state attorney Mark Jahnke. “It’s a very serious problem in our community. Not just ours, but throughout the nation.”

Defense attorney’s Frank Raff and Jason Sanders argued Harris, who had also been using heroin at the time, had no intention of killing someone.

“This was an unfortunate and tragic accident,” Raff said. “That is what it was. It was an accident.”

Raff, Sanders and Jahnke had agreed on a recommended sentencing of 5 1/2 years in prison, but Judge John Wood elected for a harsher punishment.

“People that are involved in drug use and the drug trade, whether you’re a user or seller, you’re engaged in a very deadly activity,” Wood said. “These are the most gut wrenching cases we have to deal with.”

Family members of the victim addressed Harris during the sentencing, but acknowledged after the sentencing they appreciated the stronger sentence.

“I think our family is happy and relieved that everything is done,” said Amy Wren, the victim’s aunt. “I think the biggest thing our family would like people to see is that the folks like Judge Wood are really starting to get focused on convicting people that are involved in the opioid problem”