Coroner: Murdered man had no drugs in system; four other deaths probed

News-DemocratJuly 18, 2014 

— The Madison County Coroner's Office has concluded its part of the investigation into the murder of Kenneth Deal Sr. and four other recent deaths.

Deal, 43, of Venice, was found at Washington and Third streets in Madison on May 19 and taken to Gateway Regional Medical Center. He died as a result of a gunshot wound to the chest, and no elements of alcohol or drugs were found in his system, according to the report.

The Major Case Squad of Greater St. Louis and Madison Police investigated Deal's murder. Terrence T. Lee, 30, and Turhan Robinson, 37, have each been charged with first-degree murder and armed robbery. If convicted, they face sentences from 20 to 80 years in prison.

Lee was arrested right away, while Robinson was arrested in Las Vegas. While on transport back to Illinois, Robinson escaped from a private inmate-transport service at a truck stop outside Denver. He was re-arrested in Colorado shortly thereafter.

Coroners also concluded their investigations into the following deaths:

* Stacy Hoffner, 42, of Bethalto, was found dead in her home on May 27. Hoffner had a history of heroin abuse and had been in recovery, including methadone treatment. However, investigators found that she had accessed another family member's medication.

The coroner's investigation concluded that she died as a result of combined fentanyl and methadone toxicity. Fentanyl is a potent pain medication usually prescribed for patients with complicated pain management or end-stage illnesses such as cancer, according to chief deputy coroner Roger Smith.

Hoffner's death was ruled accidental.

* Cleophus Richardson, 40, of Wood River, was found in his home on May 27 and taken to Alton Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Richardson had been clean of heroin for several years, but investigators found that he died as a result of heroin toxicity. He also had trace amounts of marijuana and alcohol in his system, according to the report.

His death was ruled accidental.

* Joseph Welch, 61, of Godfrey, crashed his car into a tree in the parking lot of Farm and Home Supply in Alton on June 29. He was taken to Alton Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The investigation found that he had suffered a heart attack behind the wheel. His death was ruled by natural causes.

* Brittany Allred, 25, of Cahokia, was pronounced dead after her car crashed on North Liberty Road near Troy on June 14. She died as a result of blunt head and chest trauma, but testing showed a blood alcohol level of 0.116, as well as the presence of methadone and prescription Xanax. The legal limit of alcohol in order to drive in Illinois is 0.08.

Her death was ruled accidental.

Contact reporter Elizabeth Donald at edonald@bnd.com or 618-239-2507.

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