Weather Forecast


Woodbury teen pleads guilty to murder in synthetic drug overdose death

STILLWATER, Minn. - One of five people charged in the synthetic drug overdose death of a Woodbury girl pleaded guilty Friday to third-degree murder.

During a pretrial hearing, Cole Alexander Matenaer, 19, of Woodbury, volunteered his reason for entering the plea.

“I want to make amends for what I did,” he said, adding that he wanted to “take responsibility for my actions.”

Matenaer was among five people charged with third-degree murder in the case, following the Jan. 11 death of 17-year-old Woodbury High School student Tara Fitzgerald. Prosecutors claim each of the five defendants had a hand in passing along the synthetic LSD that led to Fitzgerald’s death.

According to a criminal complaint, Matenaer acquired the drugs from St. Cloud resident Alexander Lee Claussen and later sold them to WHS student Sydney Claire Johnson, who passed the drugs to others who eventually provided the fatal dose to Fitzgerald.

Matenaer is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 10 in Washington County District Court.

Forum News Service

The Forum Communications News Service is the premier news wire service covering the Upper Midwest, including the Dakotas, Minnesota and Wisconsin. In addition to breaking and enterprise news, we offer a wide variety of sports, features, business, agriculture, outdoors and opinion content. For more information about the services we offer or to discuss content subscriptions, please contact us.