RACINE — A Racine man, already serving prison time on a drug charge and accused of providing a fatal dose of cocaine to a 33-year-old man, was sentenced Friday to an additional three years in prison.
Rebecca Madsen, mother of Ryan Spencer, said the day her son died — Feb. 18, 2018 — was the worst day of her life.
“A part of me was torn out of my body and left a hole that will never be filled,” Madsen said through tears.
Investigators believe that friends of her son — Matthew Halkowitz, 37, of the 3400 block of North Main Street, and Jana L. Mehevic, 31, of Caledonia — traveled to Milwaukee to purchase drugs for Spencer, who later died of a drug overdose. An autopsy indicated that the Spencer’s death was caused by cocaine and fentanyl intoxication.
Halkowitz and Mehevic initially faced charges for first-degree reckless homicide, delivery of cocaine and delivery of schedule I or II narcotics. On Feb. 28, Halkowitz pleaded guilty to delivery of cocaine. The rest of the charges were dismissed but considered for sentencing purposes.
Mehevic pleaded guilty to two counts of delivery of cocaine. She is scheduled to be sentenced Monday.
Madsen called Halkowitz an “evil presence” in her son’s life. “A friend would have told Ryan he did not need drugs,” Madsen said.
When addressing the court on Friday, Halkowitz apologized to Spencer’s family and said he wished things had turned out differently.
“I do think about him every night, and I wish things hadn’t turned out the way they did,” Halkowitz said. “I am living my consequences every day, every day I wake up.”
Halkowitz is serving a four-year sentence stemming from a 2013 possession of heroin case in Racine County. He was originally sentenced to community supervision for that charge, but his probation was revoked. Halkowitz will serve three additional years after his January 2022 release date for the 2013 conviction.
“You have devoted your life, and thrown away the many fine things that were laid upon your table, in exchange for whatever is it that you feel when you take any of the myriad drugs that you have spent your life pursuing,” Racine County Circuit Court Judge Mark Nielsen said.
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New drug charges
Halkowitz netted new drug charges in December after he was reportedly found with heroin on Dec. 29 at the Sauk County Jail.
According to the Sauk County criminal complaint, a deputy found a small rock of heroin wrapped in a piece of paper in Halkowitz’s sock during a search of a jail pod. A plastic bag with 4.3 grams of heroin was later found hidden inside Halkowitz’s anus. He later tested positive for opiates.
“It’s clear that he is not changing his mindset, he’s not understanding the seriousness of his offense,” Racine County Assistant District Attorney Micha Schwab said. “What has changed? Because he is locked up, he’s getting heroin in the prison and lying about it.”
“Every day on the news we hear about the drug epidemic in the country, and Judge, today, you are seeing it. You are seeing the catastrophic events that this drug epidemic is having, specifically on Racine County,” said Schwab.
Halkowitz’s attorney, Robert Keller, said that Halkowitz and Spencer are addicts, something he often sees while serving as an attorney. He said Halkowitz did not intend to hurt anybody and had purchased drugs from Spencer in the past. “He (Spencer) has engaged in the same type of behavior that is being looked at today,” Keller said.
Schwab admitted that while Spencer took the drugs himself, Halkowitz and Mehevic also played a role in his death. She also pointed to a pre-sentence investigation report, which she said shows that Halkowitz only feels bad for himself.
Nielsen himself called Halkowitz’s responses in the report “breathtakingly narcissistic.”
“You have devoted your life and thrown away the many fine things that were laid upon your table in exchange for whatever is it that you feel when you take any of the myriad drugs that you have spent your life pursuing.” Mark Nielsen, Racine County Circuit Court judge