RACINE — A judge staunchly refused to give a man credit for jail time already served and probation for lying to police and having drug paraphernalia in his house where a woman died from a heroin overdose.
“We have a death of a young woman. At your house. In your bedroom,” Racine County Circuit Court Judge Eugene Gasiorkiewicz told Gary J. Friso, 45, who was arrested last year when a woman died after taking drugs in his Racine home.
Friso was accused of hiding a crack pipe and a hypodermic needle before police arrived at his house on Feb. 9, 2014. Inside, they found Megan Wood, 30, lying on the floor, according to his criminal complaint.
She reportedly died after injecting herself with heroin.
Friso pleaded no contest on Tuesday to possession of drug paraphernalia, obstructing an officer and being a party to the crime of cocaine possession. During his sentencing, Friso talked about how life is precious and how — since his arrest and release on bail from jail – he now takes joy in life’s little moments, like walking the dogs and watching a sunrise.
“I give my credit to God, which I found in jail,” Friso said.
Though Friso was neither accused of causing Wood’s death nor sentenced on charges related to it, her death struck home for Gasiorkiewicz, who said he wouldn’t merely dole out probation.
“While I’ll accept the notion that you didn’t buy the drugs for her and you didn’t inject her...in what world do you see someone suffering and not help them? No world that’s overseen by God,” Gasiorkiewicz thundered at Friso before sentencing him to serve another 13 months specifically in the Racine County Jail.
Gasiorkiewicz also ordered Friso to pay $1,500 in fines.
Assistant District Attorney Gerad Dougvillo recommended Friso serve two years on probation while Assistant State Public Defender Michelle M. Anderson recommended seven months in jail and one year on probation saying, “at some point Mr. Friso did contact 911 when he discovered the young lady unresponsive.”
Friso has credit for eight months in jail, meaning he wouldn’t have served any additional time behind bars if sentenced to only seven months.
Police reported that Friso gave multiple accounts of what happened and when confronted with these versions, and about the lack of drug paraphernalia lying around on which Wood could have overdosed, Friso admitted hiding the crack pipe and syringe in his dresser, according to the complaint.
A woman who reportedly witnessed Wood injecting herself with heroin told police that Wood collapsed after shooting up. The witness and Friso placed Wood on a bed, the complaint states. Friso then stashed the pipe and syringe. The witness regularly checked on Wood, but let her sleep because she responded to occasional slaps, the complaint states.
Friso must report to jail on April 11.