Joseph Lagesse pic

Joseph R. Lagesse

KANKAKEE — Joseph R. Lagesse, of Kankakee, was sentenced to 18 years in prison Thursday in Kankakee County court for the drug-induced death of Matthew Whitlock, of Bourbonnais, on Nov. 19, 2018, in Kankakee.

Lagesse sold heroin laced with fentanyl to the 25-year-old Whitlock.

Whitlock was found in a vehicle a few blocks away from where he purchased the drugs. The cause of death was determined to be opioid and fentanyl intoxication.

Lagesse will have to serve 75 percent of the sentence per state guidelines and will receive credit for time served since Dec. 19, 2018, when he was arrested for an unrelated unlawful delivery of heroin that occurred eight days after Whitlock’s death.

Lagesse will be back in court Oct. 23 for a hearing on his motion to reconsider the sentence.

Kankakee County State’s Attorney Jim Rowe asked Judge Clark Erickson to sentence the 43-year-old Lagesse to the maximum 30 years. Lagesse’s public defender, Larry Beaumont, argued for a 10-year sentence.

When Lagesse addressed the court before his sentencing, he said, “Drugs get you two things, dead or prison.”

Lagesse also apologized to Whitlock’s and his own family.

“If I had the opportunity to interview Mr. Lagesse, I would ask him at what point did he realize doing drugs had the outcome of death or prison?” Erickson said.

From 2015-17, Lagesse said he was clean, according to a pre-sentencing report.

After his relapse, he said he was doing heroin as often as five times per day.

On Nov. 19, 2018, before selling heroin to Whitlock and a woman, Lagesse overdosed on what he believes was the same heroin-laced fentanyl he later sold to Whitlock.

Lagesse was revived at his home by Kankakee Fire personnel using Narcan, a drug that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose.

Lagesse left a local hospital before receiving treatment and then sold the drugs to Whitlock.

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