Victim’s family speaks out at man’s sentencing for overdose death

Family speaks out over Eric Traft-Johnson’s sentence

Family speaks out over Eric Traft-Johnson's sentence

The family of a man who died of a fentanyl overdose says their pain will not be dulled by a prison sentence.

Eric Traft-Johnson will spend at least five years in prison for selling drugs that killed Nick Steckman in November of 2022.

RELATED: Minneapolis man charged with murder in man’s overdose

Steckman’s family said that he struggled with mental health issues and addiction but was in the process of getting help.

At Traft-Johnson’s sentencing on Monday, Steckman’s family wore all pink to honor their loved one.

“I’m sick with rage and overwhelmed by sadness,” said Bree O’Connor, Steckman’s aunt.

O’Connor explained to the court that Steckman bought what he thought was OxyContin from Traft-Johnson, who was selling the pills on Snapchat. She said he wanted the pills to help him sleep.

Traft-Johnson admitted in court that he knew what he was selling was fentanyl.

Prosecutors initially charged him with third-degree murder, a charge that’s being used more often to go after dealers.

“It’s a little hard to square my rage at Nick being gone so senselessly, and then there’s this person here who I really want to hold accountable because I think it’s better for him if he’s accountable. He has a better chance at being a better person if he’s accountable,” O’Connor said.

Traft-Johnson received an enhanced prison sentence — five years in prison followed by another two and a half of supervised release.

The defendant apologized to the family on Monday and blamed what he did on his own addiction to drugs.