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Drug death in Lake Geneva

Man arrested for allegedly giving deadly dose of heroin to his friend

Mike Heine/The Week

(Published April 26, 2007, 3:33 p.m.)

A Lake Geneva man allegedly gave his best friend heroin on March 18. That night, his best friend died from an overdose.

Now, 26-year-old Michael E. Flaherty sits in jail with a $20,000 bond and faces a potential charge of first-degree reckless homicide by delivering drugs. Related charges could include possession with intent to deliver heroin, obstruction and bail jumping, according to court documents.

Deceased is 21-year-old Joseph William May, who Flaherty told an informant was a childhood friend.

He died of a lethal dose of heroin inside Flaherty's basement apartment at 1327 W. Main. St., Lake Geneva, according to court records. Toxicology reports were not done until April 11. Flaherty was arrested April 20 and appeared in court Tuesday afternoon.

A day after May died, police wired a confidential informant to interview Flaherty, according to court documents.

"Dude died on my living room floor. My best friend I grew up with," Flaherty allegedly told the informant, according to court documents.

Flaherty allegedly told the informant he gave the "dope" to May and watched May "almost drink a whole bottle of Captain Morgan and shoot up like three times," according to court documents.

Flaherty told the informant he went outside to use his cell phone and heard a scream inside coming from his girlfriend. He ran back inside and saw May presumably dead, according to the documents.

His girlfriend was trying to give May CPR, he told the informant. Flaherty allegedly "pushed them out of the way, grabbed all of the dope and took off running, dude," he told the informant, according to the court papers.

Flaherty allegedly hid the drugs under a porch about five houses away. Police later found a jar containing heroin in a similar location, according to the court documents.

On March 23, five days after May died, members of the Walworth County Drug Unit used a confidential informant to purchase about a half-gram of heroin from Flaherty, according to court documents.

The informant asked Flaherty if "the stuff was going to hurt him," and Flaherty said, "no," according to the court documents.

Charges are expected by May 4, Flaherty's next court appearance.

Flaherty has an open 2006 drug case where he faces a felony charge of possession of narcotic drugs and four misdemeanor drug possession charges.

The case is the third drug-related homicide in Walworth County ever and third within the last year.


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