Janesville man accused of reckless homicide in heroin death

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Frank Schultz
Friday, February 12, 2016

JANESVILLE—One man shot heroin into his own arm.

Another man is charged with causing the death.

That's the essence of the case against David J. Nevel, 30, of 1508 Canyon Drive, Janesville, whom police arrested Thursday on a district attorney's warrant charging first-degree reckless homicide.

Wisconsin law allows heroin suppliers to be held responsible for the overdose deaths of heroin users.

Nevel is accused of supplying the syringe full of heroin that Danny Ennis injected into himself on April 2, 2015.

Ennis' girlfriend told police she and Ennis were in bed when Ennis received a text message from “Little David,” later identified as Nevel, according to the criminal complaint.

Ennis told the woman Nevel was coming to their residence, and Ennis left the bedroom to meet Nevel, returning with the loaded syringe, according to the criminal complaint.

Ennis offered the woman some of the dose, but she declined, according to the complaint.

Ennis injected himself, stood to set the syringe on the nightstand and then fell to the floor, the woman told police.

The woman said she called Nevel, who came to the apartment and tried to inject Ennis with Narcan. Narcan counteracts the effects of heroin and chemically similar drugs.

The complaint does not say whether Nevel succeeded. In court Friday, Assistant District Attorney Mary Bricco said Nevel was “unsuccessful.”

The woman said she didn't believe the Narcan was having any effect, so she called 911.

Police were called to a heroin overdose at 2006 Green Valley Drive and found Ennis unconscious. Ennis could not breathe on his own and was put on a ventilator at Mercy Hospital and Trauma Center, according to the complaint.

Ennis was transferred to University Hospital in Madison, where he was pronounced dead April 15, the complaint states.

Police got a search warrant for Nevel's cellphone, where they found texts between the two men that they interpreted as arrangements for a drug deal.

At 6:29 p.m. April 2, Ennis texted Nevel, asking for enough to “get two f----d up,” according to the complaint. The texts continued:

Nevel: “K you got cash or need it covered till Friday?”

Ennis: “till Friday.”

6:44 p.m., Nevel: “give me about thirty minutes. I'll be there.”

Ennis: “I'll be sleeping so I'm good.”

Nevel: “dude I already got it paid for and I'm heading to your house.”

The 911 call came in at 8:30 p.m., according to the complaint.

Nevel later admitted to a detective that Ennis wanted heroin, but Nevel said he never provided it and that he was lying when he said he would, according to the complaint.

Ennis' girlfriend later told a detective Nevel had used Ennis' and her apartment to prepare heroin for sale, according to the complaint.

Janesville Police Detective Kyle Austin and the department's Street Crimes Unit determined over the past several months that Nevel supplied the heroin, according to the complaint.

A pathologist issued an opinion that Ennis died from “acute heroin and alcohol intoxication, causing respiratory depression, loss of consciousness, apnea, ischemia of the heart and other vital organs, hypoxic brain injury, coma and ultimately death,” according to the complaint.

Using alcohol or other drugs with heroin can increase the risk of an overdose, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control.

In court Friday, Court Commissioner Stephen Meyer set a cash bond of $1,000.

Bricco had asked for a “substantial” cash bond, noting the seriousness of the charge and potential for a long prison sentence and the fact that Nevel has relatives in the state of Washington.

Defense attorney Jason Daane argued for a low bond, saying Nevel had stayed in the area since the incident, has worked for a pizza restaurant in Milton for four years and has a minimal criminal record.

Daane noted Nevel returned to Ennis' residence even though he knew police likely would be involved, and that he tried to help Ennis.

Nevel posted bond and was released Friday evening. His next court appearance is Thursday.

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