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Man pleads guilty, sentenced for manslaughter in Cottage Grove woman’s overdose

A Cottage Grove man was sentenced Friday to 57 months in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree manslaughter following the December death of his 20-year-old friend.

Adam D. Wickard, 20, gave up his right to a pre-sentence investigation and was sentenced immediately in connection with the methadone overdose of Cottage Grove resident Priscilla C. Friest.

Washington County District Court Judge Tad Jude presided over the case.

According to the criminal complaint filed in April, Friest, Wickard and two friends were drinking at Friest’s Jasmine Avenue home the night of Dec. 14, 2013. One of the friends would later tell police that the other friend accused Wickard of getting Friest involved with heroin.

During the night Wickard and Friest left to go to McDonald’s. The police report said when they returned Friest could not talk and Wickard carried her downstairs. She was reported to have faded in and out of consciousness and experienced breathing difficulties throughout the night. When Wickard woke the next morning, he admitted to police to waking “up next to a dead person,” the criminal complaint said.

Instead of calling police that morning, Wickard admitted that he went to a job interview.

He also reportedly called an ex-girlfriend around 9:30 a.m. that morning and said Friest had died and invited her to see the body. The complaint said she declined and did not believe Wickard because of his “calm demeanor.”

Friest’s body was later found and she was determined to be deceased.

The Washington County Medical Examiner performed an autopsy and concluded that Friest had died from methadone toxicity.

Forensic examination of Wickard’s cellphone also revealed a lengthy history of dealing illegal and prescription controlled substances, according to court records.

Wickard’s manslaughter conviction is a felony.  

Following the sentencing, Washington County Attorney Pete Orput said drug-related deaths in the county have become “a scourge upon our young people.”

“This is yet another in a long line of drug overdose deaths our county has experienced in the last several years,” Orput said. “This is why my office, and all of law enforcement, responds to overdose deaths as homicides to be investigated just like any other homicide. We simply must stop these drug dealers from peddling their deadly wares.”