A 24-year-old Rush City man has been accused of murder by allegedly providing a controlled substance to another man who fatally overdosed on the drug in February.
Lucas Michael Allen Cole was charged with one count of murder in the third degree last week in Chisago County District Court. According to the charge description, “on or about Tuesday, Feb. 4, he, without intent to cause death, proximately caused the death of Michael Gregory Darsow by, directly or indirectly, unlawfully selling, giving away, bartering, exchanging, distributing or administering a schedule two controlled substance: methadone.”
Cole’s first court date is set for 1:30 p.m. Monday, June 9.
According to the complaint:
Shortly before 9 a.m. Feb. 4, an officer with the North Branch Police Department was dispatched to a city residence on Falcon Way, where a man was reportedly foaming at the mouth. The 911 caller later reported he was not breathing and did not have a pulse.
Upon arrival, the officer was led by family members to an upstairs bedroom where the victim was laying on his back and receiving chest compressions from another adult. The unconscious male was later identified as 24-year-old Michael Gregory Darsow.
Authorities continued lifesaving measures, until a doctor by telephone called off the effort. Darsow died at 9:22 a.m.
When questioned by authorities at the scene, a woman claiming to be the victim’s girlfriend said she last saw Darsow alive some hours earlier at 3 a.m. She said she had spoken with the victim’s cousin, identified as Cole, noting he had given methadone to Darsow, who did not have a prescription for the controlled substance.
The previous evening, the girlfriend continued, she saw Darsow with a white bottle, without a label, containing a pink or red liquid and believed it to be methadone. She said she flushed the rest of the liquid down the toilet. She handed an officer the bottle, which still contained a small amount of liquid.
The girlfriend said she and Darsow lived together in Maplewood. She said he was a veteran who suffered from anxiety. She said Darsow did have a prescription for Xanax.
An investigator also responded to the residence and spoke with the medical examiner, who said that foaming at the mouth is indicative of narcotic toxicity. Ultimately, toxicology results from an autopsy showed the presence of methadone in Darsow’s system, and the manner of his death was accident and the cause of death was methadone toxicity, the assistant Chisago County medical examiner determined.
On Feb. 1, the girlfriend said Darsow was visiting Cole at Cole’s residence in Rush City. When he returned the next morning, he was acting strangely and was not himself, she added. He also said he had given Cole 10 of his Xanax pills, while Cole told Darsow to take his methadone, she explained.
The investigator later confronted Cole about if he had given Darsow the methadone. He cautioned Cole that lying could make him look like he was trying to hide something.
“I didn’t want to kill him,” Cole responded, noting that instead he was trying to help Darsow.
On Feb. 7, authorities executed a search warrant at Cole’s residence, where officers seized eight bottles labeled as methadone, though the investigator believed it should have been 10, according Cole’s prescription. Each of the labels indicated the bottles were dispensed to Cole on Feb. 3, which was the same day Cole and Darsow had met and when Cole claimed Darsow had given him Xanax.