After violating the “gift” of probation received last year for delivering the heroin that led to his 21-year-old girlfriend’s death, a McHenry County Illinois man was again scolded by the presiding judge then sentenced to three years in prison.
Though with time served and day-for-day credit authorities say Cody Hillier, 25, will likely spend just days in an Illinois Department of Corrections facility.
Hillier admitted to using drugs in October which violated terms of his two year probation he received in July. After his arrest he was remanded back to McHenry County jail to await his sentencing.
“What is it going to take to get you off drugs and turn your life around,” asked Judge Sharon Prather, the same judge who sentenced him to probation in July and told him he must testify against anyone related to his girlfriend’s death.
Last month Hillier, dressed in orange jail issued clothing, testified against James Linder, 36, of Zion. He said on Jan. 30, 2015 he bought 1 1/2 grams of heroin from Linder. He testified that he ingested the heroin throughout the day with his girlfriend who died hours later in the early morning hours of Jan. 31.
When help arrived Hillier lied and said his girlfriend was having an asthma attack delaying the use of naloxone, a substance used to reverse the deadly affects of opioids. By the time he told first responders she had ingested drugs it was too late for the substance to work. Soon after she was pronounced dead at Advocate Sherman Hospital in Elgin.
Linder was found guilty of drug induced homicide and is set to be sentenced Feb. 24.
Since being back in the county jail where Linder also is being held, Hillier has been in protective custody. During the trial Hillier said he had been threatened by Linder and another man not to testify.
Hillier told Prather at this week’s sentencing hearing he relapsed on drugs at a time when he was under a lot of pressure knowing he was going to testify against Linder.
He said now that the trial is over that pressure has been lifted.
Prather asked what his plans are and he said that he has a union job waiting for him in Wisconsin.
In asking for a prison term of seven years Assistant State’s Attorney Randi Freese said Hillier’s “repeated selfish … criminal behavior” has carried “tragic and fatal consequences.”
In referring to the night of his girlfriend’s fatal overdose she said Hillier lied to those who could have saved her life.
“He knew he had the chance to do the right thing and he didn’t do it,” Freese said.
Then, just roughly three months into his probation, what she referred to as “the gift of a lifetime” Hillier violates his probation.
Freese asked for a sentence that would send a message to the community.
“He watched his girlfriend take her last breath from a drug he gave her,” she said adding that she does not know what else it will take for Hillier to turn his life around.
“(Hillier) is going to wind up dead or in IDOC,” she said.
In asking for probation so he could get the treatment he needs for his drug addiction, assistant public defender Rick Behof said Hillier “has a good heart” but he “made bad choices.”
“He has a substance abuse problem,” Behof said. “No matter what this court does to him he’s gonna have to address that.”
As his late girlfriend’s father silently looked on in the courtroom, as he has done for most court events for Hillier and Linder, Hillier told the judge he is “sorry for what happened.”
Prather, like the first time she sentenced him, gave Hillier a stern warning.
“I don’t think you are a bad person … I think you are a heroin addict. If you don’t get off the drugs you are gonna have a miserable life. Your consequences will get worse and worse. You will be in and out of IDOC or wind up dead.”