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Press Release

British Man Found Guilty In O’Fallon High School Heroin Overdose Death

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Illinois

The United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced today that Richard J. Klemis, 41, a native and citizen of Great Britain, was found guilty on Wednesday, February 4, 2015, of selling the heroin which killed Tyler P. McKinney, 19, an O’Fallon, Illinois High School student, on February 23, 2011.

United States Attorney Wigginton stated, “This successful prosecution is yet another step in our anti-heroin initiative. Our anti-heroin effort is designed to slow down and reverse the epidemic of heroin overdose deaths among young people in the Southern District of Illinois. The penalties for drug dealers who choose to prey on young heroin users are very severe, and rightly so. Richard Klemis is a middle-aged man who preyed on O’Fallon teenagers and eventually killed one of them. I am proud to have played a role in removing Klemis from society.”

Klemis is a British citizen who resided in O’Fallon in 2010-2011. Klemis sold heroin to several dozen current and former O’Fallon Township High School students during 2010-11, while he was residing with his mother in O’Fallon. Klemis fled the United States when he learned that he was a suspect in McKinney’s death. Eventually, Klemis was extradited from Great Britain.

Klemis will be sentenced in U.S. District Court in East St. Louis on May 8, 2015. Klemis faces a mandatory minimum sentence of at least 20 years in federal prison, with a potential maximum sentence of life imprisonment. In addition to McKinney’s death, Klemis was found guilty of selling the heroin which nearly killed a second man; of selling heroin to four young people under the age of 21, and of employing a 16-year old man to assist Klemis with his heroin distribution operation. Klemis was convicted of conspiracy to distribute heroin as well.

Klemis was convicted following an 8-day jury trial before United States District Court Judge David R. Herndon.

The investigation which resulted in Klemis’ arrest and conviction was conducted by the O’Fallon, Illinois, Police Department, the Millstadt, Illinois, Police Department, and by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

The case was tried by Assistant United States Attorney Robert L. Garrison and Special Assistant United States Attorney Jonathan S. Drucker.

Updated February 19, 2015