Twin Lakes woman takes plea in drug overdose death

By Jason Arndt

A 31-year-old Twin Lakes woman who slipped through her handcuffs and fled from authorities while waiting for an elevator inside the Kenosha County Courthouse in January faces a May 4 sentencing hearing.

Elizabeth Cooper

Elizabeth Cooper, accused of supplying a lethal dose of heroin to a Salem Lakes man in last July, pleaded guilty to second-degree reckless homicide, bail jumping and escape causing injury charges.

According to Assistant District Attorney Emily Trigg, Cooper accepted the charges, on condition six others were dismissed.

“I made the offer, laid out above,” said Trigg. “The defendant then agreed to plead guilty in exchange for the other counts being dismissed.”

Charges dismissed were possession of narcotic drugs, possession of drug paraphernalia, resisting an officer and two felony bail counts.

Trigg, who has not decided on a penalty, reported 25 years is the maximum sentence for second-degree reckless in homicide.

Maximum penalty for escape causing injury is 11 years and six years for felony bail jumping.

“I have not received the pre-sentence investigation report at this point,” said Trigg. “I like to review that before deciding what to recommend to the court.”

Cooper, in Kenosha County Jail since her pretrial hearing in January, violated conditions of her $5,000 cash bond when she allegedly committed two retail thefts in Illinois.

The pretrial hearing related to overdose death of Christopher Stachura, 32, found dead in a Salem Lakes garage in the 11500 block of 277th Avenue, according to a criminal complaint.

An autopsy conducted by the Milwaukee Medical Examiner’s Office on Sept. 15 revealed Stachura died of acute drug intoxication, the first criminal complaint states.

Two days later, authorities arrested Cooper at her work, where they allegedly discovered drug paraphernalia inside her bag.

As conditions of her bond, Cooper could not consume or possess alcohol and drugs, and incur further charges.

However, according to the most recent criminal complaint, Cooper allegedly committed a Jan. 3 retail theft at a Walmart in Gurnee, Ill., where she is accused of taking $274 in items.

The complaint contends Cooper, whose photo had been distributed to area Walmart stores after an alleged theft in Round Lake, was spotted by a loss prevention employee taking items and attempted to conceal her identity.

When the employee confronted her, Cooper allegedly struck him, dropped the items and fled in a Dodge Neon.

Five days later, on Jan. 8, Gurnee police discovered Cooper and a man inside the Neon at the parking lot of Gurnee Mills, where she allegedly admitted to the Jan. 3 retail theft.

“The defendant gave consent to search the vehicle,” the complaint reports, noting an officer discovered a black bag. “The bag contained a glass pipe with residue. The defendant indicated it was for consuming crack cocaine.”

Meanwhile, when Cooper appeared for a Jan. 12 pretrial conference in Kenosha, the complaint contends she became ill and was trembling.

Then, a Sheriff’s deputy asked Cooper if she has a history of drug and alcohol use, and allegedly admitted to using heroin Jan. 11.

Following the Jan. 12 hearing, the deputy placed in her handcuffs and escorted her to the second floor elevator, where five people had been standing.

“The defendant feared that people were taking pictures of her, so she moved,” the complaint states. “The defendant was still within one foot of (the deputy).”

“Dispatch then called (the deputy) who answered his radio. The defendant then slipped her left hand out of the handcuffs.”

When she fled, the deputy responded, but Cooper allegedly tried to strike him as she walked down the stairs.

As he tried to apprehend her, he fell to the ground with an injured ankle.

Then, Cooper allegedly ran to the first floor, where a security guard, the injured deputy and a bystander helped take her into custody.


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