No Criminal Charges in Superstar Prince's Fentanyl Overdose Death

April 20, 2018 05:30 AM

Carver County Attorney Mark Metz announced Thursday no criminal charges will be filed at the state level or federal level in the death of superstar Prince. 

Investigators have not been able to identify who sold or gave Prince counterfeit Vicodin pills laced with fentanyl. 

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The news comes days before the two-year anniversary of the Minnesota music icon's accidental overdose at his Paisley Park estate in Chanhassen on April 21, 2016. 

PHOTO GALLERY: Authorities Release Images From Inside Paisley Park

Prince's death coincided with surge of fentanyl on the black market.

"It's a tragic example that opioid addiction and opiate deaths do not discriminate no matter the demographic," Metz said. 

FULL NEWS CONFERENCE: No Criminal Charges Filed in Connection with Prince's Death

Prince, 57, was found alone and unresponsive in an elevator. A toxicology report from Prince's autopsy, obtained by The Associated Press, showed he had what several experts called an "exceedingly high" concentration of fentanyl in his body when he died.

RELATED: Data Made Public Includes Video, Photos of Prince after He was Found Unresponsive at Paisley Park

"Nothing in the evidence suggests that Prince knowingly ingested fentanyl," Metz said.

"There is no evidence that the pill or pills that actually killed Prince were prescribed by a doctor," he said. "There is also no evidence to suggest any other sinister motive or intent or conspiracy to murder Prince."

RELATED: Doctor Who Met with Prince Agrees to $30K Settlement for Violating Controlled Substances Act

At the press conference Thursday, Metz said Prince likely thought he was taking Vicodin, but was actually taking counterfeit Vicodin with fentanyl.

Those pills were found in his dressing room, in Alieve and Bayer pain bottles, and a single pill was found in his bed, authorities say.

Metz added there was no evidence the people close to Prince had any idea he was taking the counterfeit pill.

Metz said Prince had "been in pain for a number of years," and he was taking pain medicine for a number of years. 

RELATED: Officials to Turn Over Prince Investigative Files to Family

The report said the concentration of fentanyl in Prince's blood was 67.8 micrograms per liter, adding fatalities have been documented in people with blood levels ranging from three to 58 micrograms per liter.

The report also said the level of fentanyl in Prince's liver was 450 micrograms per kilogram and noted liver concentrations greater than 69 micrograms per kilogram "seem to represent overdose or fatal toxicity cases."

RELATED:Experts: Prince Toxicology Report Shows Very High Drug Level

KSTP obtained those numbers in May 2017 through sources, and also learned his gastric fentanyl registered at 14,000, an extraordinarily high amount, and more than his 112-pound body could handle, according to sources.

Authorities have been attempting to determine the source of the fentanyl, namely who provided it to Prince and how.

That's important because Metz said Prince didn't have a prescription for fetanyl.

"That certainly doesn't mean that some person or persons associated with Prince didn't assist or enable Prince," he said.

Also at the press briefing, Metz said Dr. Michael Schulenberg admitted that in the days before April 21, he prescribed oxycodone. But he put it in the name of one of his patients, Kirk Johnson, as a cover to protect Prince's privacy. 

Johnson was Prince's longtime manager, friend and drummer. 

Prince famously claimed he led a clean life, free of drugs and insisted no narcotics be in his name. 

But Metz said Schulenberg's prescription didn't kill Prince. Fake vicodin laced with fentanyl did. 

As part of the financial settlement reached with federal prosecutors and announced Thursday, Amy Connors, Schulenberg's attorney said: "He didn't admit liability. The deal avoids the expense and uncertain outcome of litigation." 

Schulenberg can still prescribe medicine, but only under strict regulations and supervision by the DEA. 

Schulenberg's license with the State Board of Medicine is in good standing. 

RELATED: Search Warrant: Doctor Admits Prescribing Painkiller to Prince Under Another Name to Protect Star's Privacy

Credits

Frank Rajkowski & Beth McDonough

Copyright 2018 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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