Angela Halliday Case: The Final Drug Run

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​In this week's feature story, "Smackdown," we chronicle the life of Angela Halliday, a self-described heroin junkie from Bethalto, Illinois, who's now facing drug-induced homicide charges for her alleged role in a drug deal that led to an acquaintance's fatal overdose.

"Smackdown" doesn't delve into too many details about the actual case; it's more an attempt to bring awareness to the region's heroin epidemic, frame the debate surrounding drug-induced homicide laws and explore the psychology of addiction.

That said, we learned many details about the Halliday case through court documents, death reports, coroner's inquests and several interviews. Following is a deeper look into the couple's daily drug runs, the April 11 drug run that led to Berkenbile's death, the sheriff's investigation that followed, and the case that's been made against Halliday.


During the peak of their addictions, Halliday and her boyfriend, Josh Rogers, had made drug runs into St. Louis and north St. Louis County every day, sometimes twice a day. By Halliday's count, the couple knew about twelve drug dealers in the area, whom they christened with nicknames depending on the streets on which they operated.

Halliday explains they'd often get "put on the shelf," meaning they'd be forced to wait in their parked car until a dealer or courier arrived with a bundle. Sometimes, during long waits, other street-dealers might approach them and with a sales pitch: "girl or boy," which refers to cocaine and heroin, respectively.

A "hundred-pack" of heroin costs $100 and typically includes twelve capsules -- also called "buttons" or "beans" -- stuffed inside the snipped-off corner of a plastic baggie. Most capsules are filled with heroin that's been cut with another filler, such as the sleeping aid Dormin.

On April 11, the couple solicited a ride from Berkenbile, offering him a few Xanax in exchange. Later that night, Berkenbile died from a heroin overdose. A month later, drug-induced homicide charges were brought against Halliday.

So what evidence will prosecutors use against her?

Nikki Strasen, another friend who met up with the trio later that night, tells Daily RFT that Halliday cooked up a shot for Berkenbile while he was driving -- an alleged act that Dixon refers to in the coroner's inquest. (See a link to the transcript at the bottom of this page.) Halliday, who admittedly has no memory of that portion of the night, rejects Strasen's claim, explaining that junkies don't cook up other users' shots because of the temptation to skimp on the dosage and selfishly save the rest for themselves. (It's unclear whether the injection Berkenbile got in the car contributed to his eventual overdose; just before he died, he'd done a second shot, and perhaps a third.)

Otherwise, prosecutors might try to prove that Halliday introduced Berkenbile to her drug dealer and that it was the introduction that led to his death -- or they might try to prove that Halliday's Xanax helped pay for Berkenbile's fatal dose of heroin.

It's hard to say whether those arguments will satisfy a jury, considering that the Illinois drug-induced homicide statute defines the criminal act as "unlawfully delivering a controlled substance to another" (emphasis added).

"It's a real stretch," Madison County Public Defender John Rekowski tells Daily RFT.

Read the inquest transcript here. We redacted some of the medical information about Berkenbile, along with his address, the names of the jurors, the names of other acquaintances, and the nickname of the St. Louis drug dealer involved in the transaction.


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8 comments
CBR
CBR

I hope that all of you that have such absolute feelings never have to experience anything horrible enough to banish your ignorance. To say that you should commit mass-murder because 'that's what they want' is not only callous and ignorant, but also a horrific and hurtful statement to make to those connected to a death caused by a drug overdose.

Now that you can sit on your pedastal, happy and proud to have your say, please take a moment to consider the individuals you have hurt with your comments. Think about the families of these individuals, think about the friends, think about those currently struggling with addiction - are you still feeling proud?

Think about the fact that your comments will never be forgotten - that each time I think of my friend's death, I will also remember you and the hurt you caused. And remember, you are only one bad decision away from the mistake they made or something similair. So remain callous, hurtful, and judgemental... and I will continue to hope that you never experience a death of someone you loved, or never make a decision that you cannot recover from. Most of all, I will hope that no one ever wishes you as part of a mass-murder, because they view themselves as a "better" person for not making the same mistakes.

proconserv
proconserv

I think it's Bush's fault and those darn Tea Partiers - they should be blamed for this also and because we all know they're guilty, they should go to hell!!!  I agree with DWDignity, give them enough heroin to put them out of our misery and we can then stop spending the millions it takes to catch this bunch of crack heads!!!

TaraWrist
TaraWrist

Josh Rogers was my friend and what I do not understand is how people can be so quick to judge. I did not know his "girlfriend" Angela, but I do know that prosecuting drug dealers/drug addicts is not the answer. So, if you receive money from lets say your Mom for a present or she gives you money for whatever reason. If you use that money to buy illegal drugs , you & your mother will be prosecuted. Instead of breaking the states budget locking up drug addicts, why doesn't the state actually look into and put to use programs to successfully treat those who suffer from addiction? It supposedly cheaper than putting them into jail! I know that Josh would not want any of this. He wanted to be clean and to live a happy life. He was a great guy, who was funny and always made me laugh, incredibly smart and we loved to talk about politics, he was a good-looking man who turned girls heads and unfortunately he was also an addict. He was not always an addict. I knew him before he ever became addicted to dope. I wish that I could've helped him somehow,however, it is not always that easy. I miss my friend and I wish that he were still here...

DwDignity
DwDignity

Here's a solution to the metro area's rising heroin addiciton problem.  Let's find a way to give every heroin junkie their "last fix" unsuspectingly.  A nice, warm, comforting escort into the wonderful hypodermic hereafter.  It's perfect.  It's what they want, or at least is where they're going anyway.  It's way cheaper than therapy.  It destroys the demand market for heroin.

Isn’t it wonderful we live in a country so affluent we can afford the luxury of drug abuse?  I say go further…a little extra “luxury” for the junkies wouldn't hurt at all, just a little pin prick:)

Goose
Goose

lol junkiez r silly

GFY
GFY

You solution is petty bs...yep, lets get ahold of all the dope in STL & make it even more harmful? You're suggesting that we just kill all addicts right,( WHY NOT COME OUT & SAY IT?) because thats what they want anyhow...you  really are not that educated about this and thats the problem! If you took more than 5 minutes to read this puff piece that  is basically just introducing new legislation against addicts while telling this "sob story" about my friend who is dead, then you shouldn't believe everything you read! Just do everyone a solid and learn a thing or two...I think Wikipedia should be simple enough for you to read and discover that more people suffer from addiction and killing them is not the answer. We do not live in a country where drug abuse is a luxury...GOD, Im not saying anymore because you really are just dumb. I can t believe we live in a country where  STUPIDITY is a luxury...oh, wait for you, its an American right to be a complete dumbass!

Jimlane73
Jimlane73

Hmmm... I asked someone who casually mentioned in a bar that they had tried heroin, "Why?  Why the #$#$ would you willingly take something so lethal?" and she answered, "I didn't know how dangerous it was."  How can someone be that stupid... but stupidity isn't a crime, and people become addicted.  Have a heart.

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