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Minnesota man pleads guilty to third-degree murder for overdose death of his fiancee.

His sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 17, 2023, and will take place over Zoom.

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PENNINGTON COUNTY, Minn. – A St. Hilaire, Minnesota, man has pleaded guilty to third-degree murder for the drug overdose death of his fiancee.

Anthony Joseph Drury, 31, was charged with third-degree murder and fourth-degree drug sale last December.

Drury originally pleaded not guilty to both charges, but changed his plea for the murder charge to guilty on Wednesday, Dec. 28. The court accepted his plea.

An ambulance was dispatched at 10:31 p.m. on Dec. 2, 2021, to 314 Water Avenue North in St. Hilaire, according to an affidavit in the case.

Pennington County Sheriff’s Deputy David Olson was in the area and arrived on scene within minutes. Olson was met by Drury and his mother. Drury brought Olson to his bedroom in the basement, where Olson saw 20-year-old Michaela Rose Constance Cooper.

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Cooper was lying on the bed, her face blue. According to Drury, he and Cooper relapsed that day after more than a week of no drug use.

Olson checked Cooper for a pulse but couldn’t find one. Multiple emergency personnel, including Olson, assisted with CPR. Two doses of Narcan were administered but had no effect.

At 11:08 p.m., Sanford paramedics pronounced Cooper dead on the scene.

Drury told law enforcement he bought the drugs – fentanyl pills – from James Michael Morin, 24. Morin was eventually convicted of third-degree murder. His two other charges for a fourth-degree controlled substance crime and fifth-degree drug possession were dismissed.

On Aug. 23, Morin was sentenced to 110 months — a little more than nine years — in prison.

Third-degree murder (distributing a schedule 1 or 2 controlled substance) has a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison and a $40,000 fine. Fourth-degree sale of a schedule 1, 2 or 3 drug (not marijuana) has a maximum penalty of 15 years and a $100,000 fine.

Drury’s sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 17. The hearing will be held on Zoom.

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The SCORPION unit was formed in October 2021 to concentrate on crime hot spots

Sav Kelly joined the Grand Forks Herald in August 2022.

Kelly covers public safety, including local crime and the courts system.

Readers can reach Kelly at (701) 780-1102 or skelly@gfherald.com.
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