Willmar Man Charged with Murder in Drug Overdose Death 16 Mar 18

(KWLM/Willmar, MN) A Willmar man has been charged with murder in connection with a drug overdose death last fall.  

The Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Department says 29-year-old Richard Houske was arraigned Thursday on a charge of 3rd Degree Murder-Selling, Giving or Distributing a Schedule 1 or 2 Controlled Substance, which in this case was Fentanyl.   

Kandiyohi County Sheriff Dan Hartog says on November 4th of last year the sheriff’s department responded to a call of a man in his early 20th who was dead in his home.  An autopsy determined he died of Fentanyl toxicity.  

Hartog says detectives and the C-6 Drug and Gang Task Force investigated how he got the drugs, and on December 13th they executed a search warrant at Houske’s Willmar home and found powdered Fentanyl, other drugs and paraphenalia.  

On Wednesday the murder charges were filed against Houske, and at his Thursday arraignment, bail was set at $750,000 and conditional bail was set at $200,000.   He was denied a public defender, and his next court appearance was set for March 28th.  

On the same day, Houske was arraigned on the murder charge, he pleaded guilty to two seperate drug sale cases from December of last year and January of this year.   For those cases he was sentenced to no additional jail time, placed on probation for 10 years and was assessed more than $2300 in fines and court fees.  

Hartog says “Kandiyohi County Deputies and the C-6 Drug Task Force did a great job following up on leads concerning who sold the Fentanyl to the deceased individual.  Drug overdoses in 2016 killed nearly 64,000 people in the United States with Fentanyl and heroin being the leading cause, followed by cocaine and methamphetamine.”