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Wife charged in Newport man's methadone death

NEWPORT, Minn. -- Dennis K. Parmuat returned to his Newport apartment at 11 one night last March and started drinking.

After downing about 12 beers, Parmuat took a dose of methadone provided by his wife, according to police and court documents.

Parmuat, 32, was dead within a couple of hours and now his wife, Jennifer Marie Johnson, faces a murder charge.

Washington County prosecutors announced Thursday that they are charging Johnson, 44, with third-degree murder, alleging that she unlawfully provided a prescribed drug that killed Parmuat. A warrant was issued for her arrest; authorities do not know where Johnson is. She had been arrested after the death, but was released without charges as the investigation continued last year.

Johnson told investigators that Parmuat asked for some methadone, which is prescribed to her, to help him sleep, according to the criminal complaint.

The Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s Office concluded that Parmuat died of “mixed drug toxicity.”

The felony third-degree murder charge carries a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison and a $40,000 fine.