The Ellerbusch family has every reason to be angry.
Dakota Ellerbusch seemed like a good kid, a hunting and fishing buddy to his grandfather. The family did not realize the 18-year-old was abusing drugs.
Dakota picked a guy to be his friend who was a drop out, petty criminal and drug addict. He did not realize Shane Lindsay was so callous that he would leave Dakota to die alone in a cold rural cabin over New Year’s.
Then the investigation into Dakota’s death and prosecution of Lindsay were botched. Because prosecutors failed to effectively make the case that fentanyl killed Dakota or that Lindsay gave the drug to Dakota, the judge had no choice but to drop three of five charges. The jury killed a fourth charge.
Lindsay was only convicted of obstructing justice. He lied to police.
Just like he walked away from that rural cabin and left Dakota to die, he may all but walk away from criminal responsibility for his actions.
Everyone in the community now knows what Lindsay is and how he will act when a friend is in peril. There may be a measure of justice when Lindsay is sentenced Sept. 21 in Washington County.
But, really, the best hope is for some cosmic justice to be delivered unto Lindsay. That, and for families and communities to get a better handle on the opiate crisis.