6 years in prison for Watertown woman who sold drugs that killed teen

Debra Patroelj

A Watertown woman was sentenced to prison Wednesday, Sept. 23 in connection with the death of a 16-year-old, who overdosed in January 2016.

Prosecutors said Debra Patroelj, 52, sold the drugs that caused the fatal overdose.

Patroelji was sentenced to serve six years in prison and another 14 years' extended supervision on one count of first-degree reckless homicide -- deliver drugs. 

According to a news release from the Dodge County district attorney, in January 2016, investigators responded to a home on Perry Street in Watertown for a report of an unresponsive person. The 16-year-old was found dead upon the arrival of first responders.

An autopsy revealed benzodiazepines, cannabinoids and methadone in the teenager's system.

According to prosecutors, witnesses said the 16-year-old contacted Patroelj, who "usually sells the child Percocets." The 16-year-old learned Patroelj did not have any Percocets for sale, so the teenager traded $30 worth of marijuana for six methadone pills, which the victim then consumed all at once. The victim was found dead later that evening.

“This is a case where a woman who had been dealing pills gave methadone to a 16-year-old adolescent and the drugs killed that adolescent," said Dodge County Assistant District Attorney James Sempf at sentencing. "This case is not about treatment; it’s about punishment.  In addition, prison is necessary to protect the community from the defendant’s ways.”