McHenry man arranged drug deal that led to sister’s death, prosecutors say

Defense attorney counters that client is not a dealer; he and sister both ‘lifelong’ drug addicts

Inset of Christopher Crimaldi in front of Northwest Herald file photo of the McHenry County courthouse.

A jury trial is underway in the McHenry County courthouse for a man charged with delivering a mix of heroin, fentanyl and crack cocaine to his sister, who then died from an overdose in 2018.

Christopher Crimaldi, 45, of McHenry is charged with two counts of Class X drug-induced homicide, two counts of Class 1 unlawful manufacturing and delivery of a controlled substance and a Class 2 unlawful delivery of a controlled substance in the death of his sister Heather Crimaldi. She was 45.

Christopher Crimaldi is the second man charged in his sister’s the death. William Anderson pleaded guilty in 2021 to drug-induced homicide and was sentenced to six years in prison.

Drug-induced homicide can carry a sentence of six to 30 years in prison and is not probational.

In opening statements Tuesday morning, Assistant State’s Attorney Matthew Brodersen told the jury, “Family members look out for one another. They take care of each other. Brothers look out for their sisters.”

But on Aug. 31, 2018, Christopher Crimaldi arranged through text messages the drug deal that led to his sister’s death, the prosecutor said.

Earlier during the day of her visit, Heather Crimaldi – originally from McHenry but living in Freeport at the time and coming back to McHenry to visit her brother and attend a relative’s birthday party – and her brother exchanged text messages, Brodersen said.

Heather Crimaldi, who was in recovery and had been clean from drugs for three years, asked her brother to get heroin and crack cocaine for her and her boyfriend.

“She was coming back to her old triggers,” Brodersen said.

Heather Crimaldi texted her brother asking him to get 12 bags of heroin, and he in turn texted Anderson to arrange the purchase, he said.

About 4 p.m. Aug. 31, 2018, Christopher Crimaldi met with Anderson, 31, formerly of Ingleside, in Chicago and bought $200 worth of heroin and $100 worth of crack cocaine, said Anderson, who was transported from prison to testify Tuesday.

Anderson testified that on the way back from Chicago to McHenry, Christopher Crimaldi was smoking some of the crack cocaine he had just supplied him. He also testified that he had sold Christopher Crimaldi drugs prior to this day.

When they got back to the apartment, Anderson said Heather Crimaldi was waiting and the siblings began “getting high,” smoking the crack cocaine and snorting the heroin.

Anderson was paid $300, and the siblings then drove him and his girlfriend to Antioch and dropped them off.

The siblings then returned to Christopher Crimaldi’s apartment and Heather Crimaldi took a shower, Brodersen said. Testimony later in the day indicated she had gone to a grocery store first then returned and took a shower.

When it seemed his sister was in the shower too long, her brother checked on her and she was on the floor, wet, naked and “unresponsive,” Brodersen said.

Anderson testified that Christopher Crimaldi texted him again and said his sister was overdosing. Anderson said he told him to call 911.

When city of McHenry Police Officer Christina Noyes arrived at the apartment about 10 p.m., she said she found Heather Crimaldi laying on the floor in the bathroom. She was wet, nude, turning purple, not breathing and did not have a pulse.

Noyes tried to reverse the effects of the heroin by administering naloxone, but it did not work, she testified. She then gave her CPR, but it was too late. Heather Crimaldi had died.

Police found eight small baggies suspected to contain heroin in Heather Crimaldi’s purse, which were later sent to a lab and found to be heroin and fentanyl, according to Brodersen and testimony by Noyes and city of McHenry Sgt. Brett Kinney.

Noyes and Kinney also testified Tuesday to finding a baggie inside a Dr. Pepper soda can with residue that was later found by a crime lab to be heroin and fentanyl.

An autopsy showed that Heather Crimaldi died of the toxic results of combined heroin, fentanyl and cocaine, the prosecutor said.

“The defendant brought death back with him from the city and delivered it,” Brodersen said. “Without him, Heather Crimaldi would be alive.”

But, Nils Von Keudell, defense attorney for Christopher Crimaldi, told jurors that his client is not a drug dealer. Rather he and his sister, as well as a third sibling, all suffer from “lifelong drug addictions.”

The state has already convicted Anderson, who was the drug dealer, Von Keudell said.

On March 18, 2021, Anderson, who has past drug-related convictions in Cook and Lake counties, pleaded guilty to one count of drug-induced homicide and is serving a six year prison sentence, according to Anderson’s testimony and court documents.

“The state wants to convict [Crimaldi],” Von Keudell told jurors. “Blame Anderson as the drug dealer. ... Find my client innocent. He is a user, not a dealer.”

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