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Grand jury charges man with murder charge in overdose death

Daniel Bachert
Posted at 12:02 PM, Oct 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-27 12:02:21-04

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) -- A grand jury charged a 27-year-old central Florida man with first-degree murder for his role in the overdose in January of an acquaintance who used fentanyl-laced heroin he had purchased.

Daniel Bachert was arrested in March following the January death of Jessica Ackerman, 19, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

At the time, investigators said Bachert bought the drugs that killed Ackerman, and also failed to call for help when she started to overdose at his home. He then waited hours before dropping her "lifeless" body off at a hospital, prosecutors said.

Seminole County Sheriff's deputies initially booked Bachert on a first-degree murder charge, but prosecutors instead formally charged him with manslaughter over the summer, the newspaper reported.

Bachert pleaded not guilty to the manslaughter charge, and in early September, he posed a $15,000 bond under conditions he must wear a GPS monitor and attend drug rehabilitation, according to court records.

But last week, when Seminole County resumed judicial proceedings after a suspension during the coronavirus pandemic, the grand jury brought the upgraded charge against Bachert, the newspaper reported. Florida law says only grand juries can formally charge

Circuit Judge Melanie Chase ordered Bachert to remain at a treatment facility despite the new indictment, the Sentinel reported.

Prosecutors say Bachert was a small-scale dealer and drug user.

Assistant Public Defender Larry Kowal, who represented Bachert during his first appearance hearing in March, argued that there was no concrete evidence Bachert bought the drugs that killed Ackerman.

An arrest affidavit said Barchert bought the drugs and then used them with Ackerman. Bachert's lawyer said the timeline was missing a witness or any physical evidence that Bachert bought the heroin-laced fentanyl that killed Ackerman.

Bachert also faces charges of possession of fentanyl and resisting and officer without violence from his arrest, when he was found with several syringes and bags filled with the drug and did not comply with officers' commands, the affidavit said.