After an emotional sentencing hearing Friday, a McHenry man who said he has cancer and tearfully told the judge he has six months to live, was sentenced Friday to six years in prison for his part in his sister’s fatal drug overdose in 2018.
On March 30, following a jury trial, Christopher Crimaldi, 45, was found guilty of two counts of Class X drug-induced homicide as well as felony manufacturing and delivery of a controlled substance and delivery of a controlled substance that led to the death of Heather Crimaldi.
Crimaldi is required to serve 75% of his sentence which will add up to about four and a half years. He will receive credit for time served in county jail and is required to pay $2,564 in fines and fees. When released, he will serve 18 months on mandatory supervised release.
He faced up to 30 years in prison.
In handing down the sentence, McHenry County Judge Michael Coppedge told Crimaldi that he is taking into account the tragic loss he feels in his sister’s death and his serious medical condition.
“Let me tell you, person to person, I cannot tell you how profoundly sorry I am,” Coppedge said.
But, he is “duty bound” to impose prison time because of the seriousness of the drug-induced homicide charges, for which probation is not an option. He said he thinks Crimaldi is a man “who has battled addiction and alcoholism for most of [his] life” and that “doesn’t make [him] a bad man or evil.”
He also said he thinks he has dealt with his addictions the best he can and that he is “sincere” in trying to deal with his sister’s death.
“Life is bigger” than what occurs in the courthouse and ”life is short and it is fleeting,” Coppedge said.
During the sentencing hearing, as his family members wept in the courtroom, Crimaldi wiped away his own tears as he spoke of his diagnosis of stage 4 Hodgkin lymphoma and the alcoholism and drug addiction he has battled since he was 19 years old.
“I’ve been an addict most of my life,” he said, adding it began after high school when living in Chicago with his father. The addiction only got worse when his father found out he was doing drugs and kicked him out and he was living on the streets, he said.
He also spoke of his lengthy criminal history, which included an 11-year sentence for an armed robbery conviction in Cook County.
He said he can no longer undergo chemotherapy for his illness because his kidneys and liver are failing him and he is fatigued and in constant pain. He has a lump on his neck and his right arm is at least twice the size of his left, he said.
His mother pleaded with Coppedge for leniency so her son could die at home surrounded by his family and those who love him, she said. She said her son “made a huge mistake” and he is devastated by his sister’s death.
“They were extremely close,” his mother said. “She was his protector, his mother, his father, his sister, his best friend, his confidante. I lost my daughter. Now I am losing my son.”
She said her daughter knew the risk she was taking doing drugs that night and that her son is “tormented by her death.”
Crimaldi also tearfully spoke of his sister, how close they were, how they could talk about everything. He spoke of the guilt he feels that he had a part in her death, which occurred in his apartment on Aug. 31, 2018. He said the two had taken drugs together over the years and in 2015, they overdosed together.
The night she died, after they had each ingested heroin they did not know was laced with fentanyl, she took a shower and fell. When he went into the bathroom, he found her in the tub, pulled her out and called 911, he said.
Earlier that day, Heather Crimaldi came to McHenry from Freeport for her son’s birthday party. She had completed a rehabilitation program in Freeport where she continued to live, build a new life and stay sober, according to trial testimony.
Christopher Crimaldi was arrested and charged about a month later, he said.
He is the second man convicted in his sister’s the death. William Anderson pleaded guilty in 2021 to drug-induced homicide and was sentenced to six years in prison.
Anderson testified during Crimaldi’s trial that about 4 p.m. Aug. 31, 2018, Christopher Crimaldi met with him in Chicago and bought $200 worth of heroin and $100 worth of crack cocaine.
Text messages from earlier that day showed that Heather Crimaldi asked her brother to buy heroin for her. Other text messages show Christopher Crimaldi arranging to buy the drugs from Anderson, prosecutors said.