Germantown woman gets 9 years in drug overdose case

Kimberly S. Sell
Published on: 11/23/2010

Port Washington - A Germantown resident linked to three fatal drug overdoses in 2009 was sentenced to nine years in prison Tuesday for one of those deaths, three times more than a prosecutor had recommended.

Kimberly Sell, 38, had pleaded no contest last month to first-degree reckless homicide in the death of Kati Lynn Hammen, 21, found dead in her Fredonia home Dec. 21. Sell, who had sold Hammen methadone the day before, was charged in Ozaukee County in March.

Though not charged, Sell remains linked to at least two other drug overdose deaths in 2009, authorities have said. She is a person of interest in the April death of her fiancé, Ted Olla, who lived with her, and the Christmas Day death of Ian Hegmegee of Menomonee Falls, Germantown Police Chief Peter Hoell said in March.

The other deaths were part of a presentence report read by Ozaukee County Circuit Judge Paul Malloy. He told Sell he didn't believe she was just trying to help out a fellow addict when she sold her the methadone.

'You were a drug dealer, and we might as well call it what it is,' Malloy said. He noted that Sell kept on selling the methadone, including to an undercover police officer, even after her fiancé's death and after Hegmegee had been hospitalized from his overdose in October.

Assistant District Attorney Patti Wabitsh had stressed to Malloy that Sell never showed real remorse or empathy, besides once stating she felt bad for Hammen's family. Mostly, Wabitsh said, Sell tried to minimize her role and paint herself as a victim.

Sell's attorney, Peter Heflin, said that it was not even certain that the methadone Sell sold was enough, alone, to cause the death of Hammen, who had also taken Xanax and a tranquilizer, drugs she got from other sources who haven't been identified.

Heflin said that before her arrest in March, his client had a doctor's prescription for 510 methadone tablets a month, a number he called shocking, but one he said explained why she had 283 tablets in her home, along with several other drugs, when police searched it in March.

Sell spoke only briefly. She apologized for the part she played in Hammen's death, and that as a mother herself, she can't imagine the victim's family's grief.

Dale Hammen, the victim's uncle, spoke for the family. He said drug-makers, doctors and clinics all share some responsibility for prescription drug abuse and should also face stiffer penalties for violating rules about the way they are made, prescribed and controlled.

Sell still faces two felony and three misdemeanor drug charges in Washington County, where she has pleaded not guilty.

In addition, the investigation into the drug overdose death of Olla, 48, remains open. Sell called police the afternoon of April 15 to report that she had found Olla unresponsive on a couch in the apartment they shared. He was pronounced dead a short time later at Community Memorial Hospital.

Toxicology tests found cocaine, methadone and several other drugs, including traces of opiates - codeine and morphine - in his blood. At the hospital, Olla's relatives told investigators that they were aware he had abused methadone in the past without a prescription, according to a Washington County medical examiner's report.

Hegmegee, 25, was found unresponsive from a cocaine overdose on Oct. 23, 2009, at Sell's apartment in Germantown and was taken to a hospital, where he remained in a coma until he died Dec. 25.

His parents, Paul and Jennifer Hegmegee, attended Tuesday's hearing, carrying photos of their son. They said they are still waiting for authorities to announce an official cause of death. They said their son was unconscious in Sell's apartment for 20 hours before she reported his condition.