Granite City man to serve eight years for drug-induced homicide

A Granite City man who pleaded guilty to drug-induced homicide will serve eight years in prison.

Cory Armbruster, 33, who pleaded guilty in August, was sentenced to eight years in prison on Monday, of which he must serve 75 percent of the sentence or six years. The defense had asked for a six-year sentence, while the prosecution requested 10 years.

On Nov. 28, 2011, William J. Smith took a lethal overdose of fentanyl, an extremely strong medication usually prescribed to cancer patients and had other drugs in his system at the time. Smith, 48, had a long history of medical problems and was addicted to painkillers. He overdosed and died at his home in Granite City.

Armbruster and Becky Chandler were both charged with felonies; police believed that Chandler sold the fentanyl to Armbruster, who then provided it to Smith. According to the coroner’s inquest, the fentanyl drug is provided in a patch that is supposed to provide relief slowly through the skin, but Smith apparently opened the patch and ingested all of it at once.

Armbruster was originally charged with unlawful delivery of a controlled substance, a Class 2 felony. His charges were later amended to add drug-induced homicide, a Class X felony, after toxicology tests confirmed the fentanyl, according to Stephanee Smith, spokeswoman for the Madison County State’s Attorney’s Office.

In August, Armbruster pleaded guilty to drug-induced homicide in return for dismissing the drug charge. As part of the plea, the state’s attorney’s office agreed not to ask for more than 10 years in prison.

Chandler’s case is still pending in Madison County Circuit Court.

Contact reporter Elizabeth Donald at or 618-239-2507.