WOODSTOCK – In what a McHenry County judge called his “absolute last chance,” Cody Hillier was sentenced to two years’ probation for drug charges that stemmed from the overdose death of his girlfriend.
“… You are going to either end up dead or spend a lifetime in and out of prison,” Judge Sharon Prather said, referring to what could happen to Hillier if he does not stay out of further trouble.
The 24-year-old, formerly of Algonquin, pleaded guilty May 19 to unlawful possession and delivery of a controlled substance, a Class 4 felony and a Class 2 felony, respectively.
Hillier allegedly bought the drugs from 34-year-old James F. Linder of Zion, and gave them to Danielle Barzyk, 21, of Algonquin. Linder was charged with drug-induced homicide, and his next court date is July 13.
Prather sentenced Hillier, as family members of Barzyk were present, to two years of probation, 180 days in McHenry County Jail and a $1,000 fine. Time is considered served because Hillier has been incarcerated for about 18 months already.
Prather said that while she agrees heroin is a serious issue in the county, she recognizes that Hillier was not the one charged with his girlfriend’s death. As part of his sentence, Hillier also agreed to give “truthful testimony” during any future proceedings of the case.
Algonquin police Sgt James Sowizrol, who was working on the midnight patrol on the night of the incident, said he responded to the scene about 1:30 a.m. and saw Hillier by a vehicle waving his arms beside a female who was unresponsive on the ground.
He said Hillier told him Barzyk was having an asthma attack and she couldn’t breathe. He later told police that she had consumed about 10 hydrocodone pills, but by then it was too late.
Sowizrol said he would have immediately used Narcan, also known as Naloxone, had he known she overdosed. Narcan has a high success rate in reviving those who have overdosed, he said. Barzyk was taken to Advocate Sherman Hospital in Elgin, where she was pronounced dead, authorities have said.
Assistant State’s Attorney Randi Freese said Hillier has been arrested on five separate occasions – three of which were felonies – and was on probation in Lake County when he was charged.
Freese said the defendant was previously given a chance at probation, yet he continued to violate the law. She said heroin is “destroying” the community and so a message needs to be sent to drug dealers.
“He needs to be reminded that his action and inaction killed (Barzyk),” she said.
Assistant Public Defender Rick Behof said Hillier is a drug user not a drug dealer, and his client did not force Barzyk to take the drugs. He said “throwing Hillier in prison” is not going to help anybody, but probation and treatment could.
When given the opportunity to speak, Hillier said his “bad choices” will haunt him for the rest of his life. He said he plans to get a job and finish classes to get his GED and eventually attend college.
“There is nothing I can do or say that could ease your loss, and for that I am sorry,” Hillier said to Barzyk’s family.