Bemidji woman pleads guilty to 3rd-degree murder for drug overdose

May 26—BEMIDJI — A Bemidji woman has pleaded guilty to third-degree murder for her role in the drug overdose death of a man in 2020.

According to a release from Beltrami County Attorney David Hanson, 44-year-old Becky Lyn Stough, of Bemidji, pleaded guilty on Thursday, May 25, to third-degree murder for selling/giving/distributing controlled substance schedules I and II.

The guilty plea comes after the Beltrami County Sheriff's Office, along with the Paul Bunyan Drug Task Force, responded to a call to investigate an unresponsive male, identified in court documents as R.R., as a possible victim of a drug overdose on June 29, 2020.

R.R. was pronounced dead at the scene, and an autopsy concluded that the cause of death was a fentanyl overdose. After an investigation, law enforcement learned that Stough had been selling pills laced with fentanyl in the Bemidji area.

Even though Stough did not directly give the pills to R.R., law enforcement was able to tie the pills that killed him back to Stough, the release said.

When confronted, she eventually admitted to selling the pills known as "perc 30s" which contained fentanyl and had been found in the victim's bedroom.

"The prosecution of Stough for third-degree murder, based alone on the distribution of drugs to the community, is the first such successful prosecution of a drug dealer in our community who did not directly give the drugs to the deceased," Hanson said in the release said.

During Stough's plea hearing, she admitted to selling pills that she knew were laced with fentanyl in the Bemidji area and that it was foreseeable that someone could die as a result.

A sentencing hearing will be held on June 27.

"(I) would like to thank all of the hard-working members of the Beltrami County Sheriff's Office, the Paul Bunyan Drug Task Force, and Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, who helped investigate this crime," Hanson said. "(I) would also like to thank all of the staff of the Beltrami County Attorney's office who put in many hours on this matter, specifically, Assistant County Attorney Symon Schindler-Syme, Legal Assistant Ashley Yoder, and Victim Services Coordinator Riley Irish."