Police say the death of an inmate at the Minnesota Correctional Facility in Faribault was the result of ingesting two capsules of methamphetamine he received from an Alexandria woman during a visit.
According to court documents, now that woman is facing multiple charges, including third-degree murder. The charges included in the criminal complaint come just over three weeks after Jason Roger Nyberg, 36, was found dead in his prison cell.
Melissa Rae Guillette, 34, of Alexandria, is facing third-degree murder (delivering a controlled substance) and bring/send/introduce contraband into a state prison. If convicted of the maximum, she faces up to 35 years in prison or a $40,000 fine.
On Monday, Guillette was taken into custody without incident. She was booked in the Douglas County jail shortly before 9 p.m.
According to a criminal complaint filed in Rice County District Court:
On a Sept. 4 recorded phone call, Nyberg and Guillette discussed concealing an “item” for her to bring him at the prison.
The following day, according to the MCF-Faribault logs, the visit began at 10:43 a.m. and ended at 12:05 p.m. At 3:15 p.m., Nyberg was found unresponsive in his cell.
Based on video of the visiting room during the visit, investigators were able to see that Guillette handed Nyberg something, which he then placed in his pocket. Prior to the end of the visit, however, Nyberg moved his hand from his pocket to his mouth and apparently ingested the item he was given by Guillette.
After receiving a search warrant for Guillette’s residence and making contact with Guillette, she stated she had a relationship with Nyberg and the Sept. 5 visit was the third she had made.
He had requested she bring in two grams of methamphetamine and later asked she bring in four grams.
After receiving the instructions, she ground the meth into a fine powder and placed it into two small gelatin capsules, which she had obtained from the store called The Grain Bin.
Inside one of the capsules she placed 1.4 grams of meth, and in the other she placed 1.1 grams.
A package of empty capsules was found in the back of a truck on Guillette’s property. Also found at the residence was a large amount of methamphetamine, according to the Faribault Police Department.
She told officers that she placed two pills in her back pocket before entering the Faribault prison and admitted she gave them to Nyberg. She also admitted that he placed the pills in his mouth before the end of the visit. He planned to spit them out again after the strip search.
After leaving the visiting room, Nyberg was held for an hour before being strip searched to return to his cell. At 3:15 p.m., Nyberg was found unresponsive in his cell. Attempts to revive him were unsuccessful.
According to the autopsy conducted by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner, the cause of death was methamphetamine toxicity.
According to a report by Washington State Patrol Forensic Laboratory Services Bureau, common abused doses are 100 to 1000 milligrams per day, and up to 5000 milligrams per day in chronic binge use.
Nyberg was incarcerated on a drug conviction and entered the Faribault facility on Sept. 23, 2014, and his anticipated release date was Feb. 19, 2020, according to Sarah Latuseck, communications and media relations director with the DOC.
Latuseck said the DOC investigation is ongoing.
According to court records, Nyberg was convicted of possession of a controlled substance and obstructing the legal process in August 2014. In February, he was convicted of possession a pistol/assault weapon, a felony, which was committed in June 2014. Both crimes were committed in Morrison County.
“Unfortunately criminals find creative ways to hide contraband from authorities and choose to engage in risky behavior and this inmate lost his life,” said Faribault Police Chief Andy Bohlen. “Thankfully, local law enforcement has a strong relationship with the Minnesota Correctional Facility in our community and we were able to resolve this death investigation and arrest a suspect that introduced illegal drugs into the prison.”