Winnebago County State’s Attorney Marilyn Hite Ross announces that on October 9th, 2019, Karen E. Hernandez (DOB: 7/6/1965) was sentenced to a total of 30 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections by the Honorable Judge Randy Wilt. The defendant will also be on Mandatory Supervised Release for three years after she is released from prison.
Hernandez pled guilty to two counts of Drug Induced Homicide and was sentenced to 15 years on each count. The sentences will be served at 75% and will run concurrent.
On March 16th, 2018, around 4:15am, Rockford Police were called to 1300 Block of Blake Street for a possible overdose. Officers found three victims who were transported to local hospitals. One woman, later identified as Justine Wentz, was pronounced deceased. An autopsy conducted by the Winnebago County Coroner’s Office determined that Wentz died as a result of a controlled substance overdose.
Also on March 16th, 2018, at approximately 6:30am, Rockford Police were called to the 3200 Block of Westgate Parkway for an unresponsive male.
The victim, who was later identified as Brock Palchik was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced deceased three days later. The Winnebago County Coroner’s Office found that the victim died as a result of a drug overdose.
Rockford Police Narcotics and Violent Crime Detectives conducted a follow up investigation which was reviewed by the Winnebago County State’s Attorney’s Office. As a result, Karen Hernandez was charged and subsequently indicted by a Winnebago County Grand Jury.
Drug Induced Homicide is a Class X Felony that is punishable by a sentence of 6-30 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections followed by three years of Mandatory Supervised Release.