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Man enters guilty plea in heroin trial

Prosecutors: Ex-McHenry resident linked to overdose in previous case

Published: Friday, May 16, 2014 12:23 a.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, July 29, 2014 9:52 p.m. CDT

WOODSTOCK – A former McHenry man, who prosecutors said was a drug dealer who once delivered a fatal dose of heroin, pleaded guilty Thursday to unlawful delivery of the controlled substance.

Based on prior felonies, Andrew J. Lazar, 33, was eligible to be sentenced on a more serious Class X felony, or between six and 30 years. But in exchange for his guilty plea, prosecutors agreed to ask for a sentencing range on a Class 2, or between three to seven years.

Though it’s a probationable offense, prison time is likely, Assistant State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally said outside the courtroom.

“In view of the facts of this specific case, we feel he will be sentenced to the Department of Corrections, and we’re happy with that,” Kenneally said.

At the Aug. 1 hearing, Kenneally expects to introduce Lazar’s previous heroin-related arrests when arguing for a prison sentence.

Lazar was believed to be the drug dealer who brought heroin in 2009 to a McHenry hotel that ultimately killed 36-year-old Rustin Cawthon, prosecutors have said.

Cawthon’s former girlfriend, Amanda Coots, 31, was later convicted of drug-induced homicide stemming from Cawthon’s death.

Attorneys said Coots gave Cawthon a second, fatal bag of heroin after the first dose didn’t get him high. Cawthon collapsed into a recliner, and Coots left without seeking help.

Her conviction and 10-year sentence were overturned on appeal, and she later accepted a plea deal.

Lazar was not charged with any crime stemming from that incident.

For his latest charge, Lazar admitted he delivered less than one gram of heroin on July 18, 2012. His blind guilty plea was accepted by McHenry County Judge Sharon Prather.

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