Accused dealer pleads not guilty in fatal drug overdose

Milwaukee man charged with homicide is accused of selling heroin linked to Grafton man’s death
By 
BILL SCHANEN IV
Ozaukee Press staff

A 28-year-old man charged with selling the heroin that led to the December 2018 overdose death of a Grafton-area man in Tendick Park pleaded not guilty to first-degree reckless homicide in Ozaukee County Circuit Court Monday.

Prosecutors say Milwaukee resident Dartanjal V. Williams is responsible for the death of 57-year-old Richard Ziebell, a standout basketball player at Grafton High School who went on to become a licensed drug and alcohol counselor.

Ziebell’s body was found in a vehicle in the county park in the Town of Saukville on Dec. 21. An autopsy determined he overdosed on heroin and alprazolam, a prescription medication better known by the brand name Xanax that is used to treat anxiety disorder.

The criminal complaint provides no indication that Ziebell ever dealt directly with Williams or even knew him. Instead, it describes Ziebell as a regular customer of a man identified in the complaint only by his alias — Bam Bam Sam.

On Ziebell’s cell phone, authorities found a series of text messages that began on Dec. 18 with Ziebell asking Bam Bam Sam about obtaining drugs. Bam Bam Sam replied that he knew a dealer.

Other messages suggest the two men met  at a Saukville gas station on Dec. 20 to conduct a drug deal. After that, Ziebell texted Bam Bam Sam, “Holy (expletive), that’s great stuff. Did 2 and I feel great,” according to the complaint.

In his reply, Bam Bam Sam cautioned Ziebell that the heroin was strong and he should be careful using it. He also told Ziebell to delete his text messages, the complaint states.

The day after Ziebell’s body was found, authorities interviewed Bam Bam Sam, who said he had delivered heroin to Ziebell  many times in the past, according to the complaint.

Bam Bam Sam said that on Dec. 19 he bought heroin for Ziebell but used it himself. The next day, he said, he borrowed $150 and bought more heroin, some of which he used before giving the rest to Ziebell at the Saukville gas station, the complaint states.

Bam Bam Sam told authorities that he buys crack cocaine and heroin, which is always “good stuff,” from a man known as Tru, who authorities identified as Williams, according to the complaint.

Bam Bam Sam said Williams sells drugs from his silver Infinity sedan in Milwaukee. He said Williams usually carries about $10,000 and keeps a gun in his car, the complaint states.

Working with authorities, Bam Bam Sam arranged to buy heroin and cocaine from Williams in Milwaukee on Jan. 3. Members of the Ozaukee County Anti-Drug Task Force and U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency saw Williams conduct about 10 drug deals before he met with Bam Bam Sam on South 63rd Street. When DEA agents confronted Williams, he ran from his car and through several yards before being arrested.

He was booked in the Ozaukee County jail but later posted $10,000 bail and is free while awaiting trial.

Although Bam Bam Sam is not identified by his real name in the criminal complaint charging Williams with homicide, a 22-year-old man named Samuel C. McCutcheon was charged on Dec. 21 with delivering heroin to Ziebell in Saukville after authorities found a text message exchange between the two men on Ziebell’s phone.

McCutcheon faces one count of delivering heroin, a felony punishable by a maximum 7-1/2 years in prison and five years of extended supervision. He has pleaded not guilty to the charge, but is scheduled to change his plea on Aug. 6.

McCutcheon’s bail was set at $15,000, which he posted.

The homicide charge Williams faces is punishable by a maximum 25 years in prison and 15 years of extended supervision.

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