Police & Courts

Calhoun County man gets seven years after guilty plea in drug overdose case

Derek Tepen
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Jan. 11, 2018 4:40 pm Updated: Jan. 12, 2018 10:45 am

PITTSFIELD, Ill. -- A Calhoun County man has pleaded guilty in the 2017 overdose death of a Milton man and was sentenced to seven years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.

Court records show that Derek B. Tepen pleaded guilty to one count of delivery of a controlled substance Jan. 2 in Pike County Circuit Court. A jury trial had been scheduled to start Monday.

As part of the negotiated plea, a more severe charge of drug-induced homicide was dropped.

Tepen's seven-year sentence will be served concurrently with a five-year sentence after he pleaded guilty to a charge of possession of methamphetamine out of Calhoun County.

Tepen, 31, and Kayla R. Howard, 26, were arrested March 25 at a home in Batchtown after they were accused of delivering heroin that contained fentanyl on March 4 to Gavin R. Bland, 35, who died after ingesting the substance.

Pike County Sheriff Paul Petty, who also serves as county coroner, testified during an April 4 preliminary hearing that toxicology reports showed that Bland had fentanyl, alcohol and alprazolam in his system when he died.

Petty also testified that both Tepen and Howard communicated with Bland by text the day he died regarding the delivery of heroin and the location of money for the purchase.

Tepen has been held on a $100,000 bond since his arrest, and he received credit for 283 days already served.

Howard pleaded guilty to one count of a controlled substance Sept. 29 and was sentenced to five years in prison. She also had a drug-induced homicide charge dropped as part of her negotiated plea.

Sign up for Email Alerts

Things to Do