On October 17, 2013, Taavi McMahon, Trempealeau County District Attorney, announced that Tasha Kempfer of La Crosse, Wis., was sentenced Tuesday, October 15, 2013, by Trempealeau County Circuit Court Judge John Damon to a total of ten years, the first five years of which must be served in prison and the remaining five years on extended supervision, for her role in the 2011 death of Jeremiah Harris in the village of Trempealeau. Two counts of heroin delivery in La Crosse County were dismissed as part of the plea in Trempealeau County. Kempfer’s mother, Michelle Johnson, was previously convicted of delivery of a controlled substance for her involvement in this matter.
This prosecution was Trempealeau County’s first Len Bias case, which holds anyone who supplies dangerous drugs to another person, who dies as a result of ingesting those drugs, accountable for their actions.
The conviction of Kempfer in the death of Jeremiah Harris marks a significant milestone for Trempealeau County, and is evidence of the tragic increase in opiate related deaths statewide. Rural counties are not immune to the threat these drugs pose to the community.
The Trempealeau County Sheriff’s Department was assisted in the investigation by the State Department of Criminal Investigations, as well as the Metropolitan Enforcement Group unit. The Trempealeau County District Attorney’s office also received assistance from the U.S. Department of Justice in the prosecution of both cases. This assistance was crucial to the successful prosecution of Tasha Kempfer and Michelle Johnson and is greatly appreciated by all involved.
Sheriff Richard Anderson and District Attorney Taavi McMahon will be reaching out to the citizens of Trempealeau County to educate them on the dangers these drugs pose to their community.
Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen recently announced a statewide education initiative, www.theflyeffect.com, on the same subject and should be applauded for his leadership and efforts to educate the public on the dangers posed by this growing heroin epidemic.