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Plea Deal Reached in Len Bias Case

Donald Ray Brown guilty of delivery of narcotics as part of deal with prosecutors and will avoid trial.

A Milwaukee man who sold drugs to a Sussex woman who later overdosed and died will not stand trial.

Donald Ray Brown, 47, pleaded guilty Monday to one count of manufacture and delivery of a schedule I or II narcotic as part of a plea deal with prosecutors.

The charge is reduced from reckless homicide charges under the state's Len Bias law, which he was charged with in December 2011 for selling heroin to Patricia K. Berge, 22, who later died.

According to the criminal complaint:
Waukesha County deputies were dispatched to Berge’s apartment in the West 23000 block of Clover Drive on June 3 around 7 a.m. after her mother, Kelly McFarlin, found her lifeless in her bedroom.

Firefighters were attempting CPR when the deputies arrived, but Berge was pronounced dead at the scene.

McFarlin said she knew her daughter used heroin in the past. She said talked to Berge at 11 p.m., the night before her death, but when she went to her daughter's bedroom the next morning, she was unable to awaken her and called 911.

Police found a syringe on the bedroom floor along with a prescription bottle filled with heroin, a tourniquet and other drug paraphernalia. Police also found Berge’s cell phone, searched it and discovered she was hanging out with a former classmate, Aaron M. Foss, the day before her death.

Foss said he met Brown, or “D-Ray,” sometime in 2007 or 2008, but it wasn’t until May 2010 that Berge began accompanying him to Brown’s house in Milwaukee to buy heroin.

Foss said she would come with him to Brown’s home almost every day since then. Berge would purchase anywhere between $20 to $100 worth of heroin from Brown, Foss told police.

However, Berge received a few thousand dollars in student loans and began increasing her usage, never buying less than a couple hundred dollars worth of heroin. On June 2, the day before Berge’s death, Foss picked her up from work to buy a digital camera at the Best Buy near Mayfair Mall.

On their way, though, Berge said she first wanted to go to Brown’s house and buy heroin. The two drove to his home on Richards Street in Milwaukee, Berge gave Foss $300 to buy heroin, and Foss came out with about 15 bags of the drug.

Foss said she wanted to shoot up in the car, but he drove her to a gas station bathroom instead. After Berge had locked herself in the bathroom for quite some time, Foss became nervous. He got out of the car, knocked on the door and there was no answer.

He called Berge on her cell phone, but she didn’t pick up. At some point, a gas station clerk came out, confronted Foss and said he was going to call police. Scared, Foss drove away with his five bags of heroin, leaving Berge with the other 10 in the gas station bathroom.

While driving back toward Waukesha County, Berge called him and said she overdosed in the bathroom, paramedics came to revive her and she ran away from them. She said needed to be picked up. Foss refused and went to a bar in Sussex. Berge became upset, called Foss and said she wanted her other five bags of heroin back, but Foss refused.

He later learned of her death.

Since her death, Foss admitted to buying heroin one other time from Brown near West 5th Street and North Center Street in Milwaukee. Brown said he heard a girl overdosed and died after using his drug, and Foss told him it was true.

Brown will be sentenced Dec. 17. He could face up to 10 years in prison and $50,000 in fines under the amended charges.

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