Heroin distributor sentenced for OD death

Donald S. Harden (Photo source: Brown Co. Jail)

GREEN BAY (WLUK) -- "Be careful with this stuff, it's got bodies on it."

Prosecutors say that was the warning Donald S. Harden gave before he provided heroin that eventually led to a Neenah man's overdose death.

Harden, 47, of Fort Atkinson, has been sentenced to life in prison in federal court for the death of 24-year-old Frederick J. Schnettler. Schnettler died in 2014 of what the medical examiner determined to be "acute heroin toxicity."

According to prosecutors, Harden bought heroin in Chicago and took it to Watertown, Wisconsin, where he repackaged it for distribution in the Fox Valley and elsewhere. He delivered the drug to what prosecutors call "mid-level distributors," who would in turn deal smaller amounts to heroin users. On Sept. 4, 2014, prosecutors say Harden's delivery -- along with the warning -- went to a dealer who sold the fatal dose to Schnettler. Another man, 38-year-old Cory Dedering, also died from an overdose of the same batch of heroin, and a third person overdosed from the batch, but did not die, according to prosecutors.

In sentencing Harden, federal judge William Griesbach told him he "had no one to blame but himself for his situation."

Another woman, Brandi Kniebes-Larsen, was previously sentenced to 12 years in prison for her role in Schnettler's death.

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