By DAN BENSON
Posted: Dec. 22, 2005
Port Washington - Two people were charged Thursday in connection with the heroin overdose death of a 17-year-old Cedarburg girl in November.
Benjamin R. Stibbe, 23, of Grafton, and Caitlin E. Schuette, 17, of Cedarburg, are each charged with one count of first-degree reckless homicide in connection with the death of Angela Raettig, who died Nov. 30 of a heroin overdose, according to a criminal complaint filed in Ozaukee County Circuit Court.
The two are being charged under the state’s rarely used and so-called "Len Bias" law, which allows for someone who provides drugs that are a "substantial factor" in a death to be prosecuted for homicide.
The law, which was enacted in 1989, is named after a University of Maryland basketball player who died of a drug overdose in 1986. According to the criminal complaint, Schuette, Raettig and Ryan Hinkle, 19, of Cedarburg, were at Hinkle’s apartment Nov. 29. “She (Schuette) stated that Angela had just gotten her drivers license and they had decided to go to Milwaukee to get some heroin,” the complaint says. Stibbe was contacted, using Schuette’s cell phone, and asked to arrange the purchase of heroin in Milwaukee.
Raettig initially made the phone call, according to statements attributed to Stibbe and Schuette in the complaint, but Stibbe refused to deal with Raettig since he did not know her or Hinkle.
But he agreed to arrange the purchase once Schuette, whom he did know, got on the phone.
Raettig drove the group in her mother’s car to a KFC restaurant along Fond du Lac Ave. in Milwaukee, where Stibbe met a heroin dealer. Stibbe told investigators that Schuette gave him $50 and Raettig gave him two $20 bills, which he used to buy four bags of heroin for $80 from the dealer.
Stibbe first bought a soda in the restaurant with the money so he would have the correct change to purchase the heroin, the complaint says.
Each of the four took one bag containing an unspecified amount of heroin, the complaint says.
Stibbe snorted his share in the car. The others took Stibbe to his Grafton home and then went to Hinkle’s Cedarburg apartment because Raettig and Schuette “didn’t have a clean rig,” meaning a hypodermic needle, Stibbe told investigators, according to the complaint.
But Hinkle told Raettig and Schuette he had “a clean rig” at his residence, Stibbe told investigators according to the complaint.
Schuette also told investigators she saw Raettig inject herself with heroin and that Raettig then asked Schuette if she wanted to also.
“Sure, a little bit,” at which point Raettig injected Schuette, Schuette said, according to the complaint.
According to the criminal complaint, Hinkle told investigators he did not see Raettig and Schuette inject heroin, although he said he had in other court documents.
In an e-mail sent to the Journal Sentinel on Dec. 6, Schuette called Raettig “my best friend and I was there on Tuesday (Nov. 29) and know what happened.”
Hinkle is in jail on felony heroin possession and bail jumping charges. The bail jumping charge stems from a police search that turned up drugs in his apartment a day after Raettig’s death. While he is named in the criminal complaint, Hinkle has not been charged in connection with Raettig’s death.
His mother, Laura Hinkle, said this week that she would post $1,000 bail to free her son so he could attend a 28-day inpatient drug rehabilitation program in Minnesota.
Ozaukee County District Attorney Sandy Williams asked that bail be set at $50,000 for Schuette “due to the seriousness of the charges.”
Schuette’s attorney, Michael Penkwitz, asked that McCormack impose a signature bond, arguing that Schuette is not a flight risk because she has no car and lives with her family in Cedarburg.
“I would like to see her get back into counseling,” Penkwitz said.
McCormack denied Penkwitz’s request.
“She is now facing serious charges as an adult, has a previous record and, as is obvious from the complaint, has contacts with the drug culture,” McCormack said. He set bail at $30,000 cash and ordered Schuette to have no contact with Stibbe or Hinkle.
Schuette has a previous juvenile drug offense record, for which she was placed under supervision in July, Williams told McCormack at Thursday’s hearing.
Williams filed the homicide charges against Schuette and Stibbe on Wednesday but they were ordered sealed by McCormack at Williams’ request until Schuette was taken into custody by Cedarburg police later in the day.
Making the complaint public “can pose a risk of flight if defendant Schuette becomes aware of the criminal complaint and arrest warrant,” Williams wrote in her petition to seal the documents, which were unsealed Thursday morning.
For the latest offense, Stibbe’s bail was set at $20,000 by McCormack.
Stibbe has been held in jail since Dec. 1 on $30,000 cash bail. He was charged then with two felony charges of delivering heroin.
Those charges allege that he took undercover police officers to Milwaukee where he purchased heroin for them. He also faces a misdemeanor theft charge for allegedly stealing a bottle of liquor from a Grafton gas station.
Cedarburg Police Chief Tom Frank said Thursday the investigation into Raettig’s death is continuing and that more charges may be filed. Williams declined to comment whether more charges would be forthcoming.
Stibbe has been linked to three other possibly drug-related deaths.
According to Grafton police officials, a “strong circumstantial case” exists to link Stibbe to the death of Lynn Smaxwill, a 43-year-old Grafton woman, who was found dead of a heroin overdose in December 2002 by her 12-year-old son.
That case is under review by Williams, but no charges have been filed, officials say.
Debbie Kobiske, of Grafton, the mother of 21-year-old Matt Kobiske, has said her son had been with Stibbe the night before she found her son dead in his bed Oct. 16, less than a month after Matt Kobiske finished inpatient treatment for heroin use.
A week later, on Oct. 23, another Grafton man, James Helm, 47, died in what his brother said was likely a heroin-cocaine overdose. Hinkle, Schuette and Stibbe were in custody at the Ozaukee County Jail on Thursday night.
Schuette and Stibbe could each be imprisoned up to 40 years and fined $100,000 if convicted of the charges filed Thursday.
Katharine Goodloe of the Journal Sentinel staff contributed to this report.