An drug dealer is scheduled to be arraigned Friday on charges of murdering a 21-year-old user by providing her with lethal doses of heroin and methadone and refusing to take her to the hospital when she was unconscious and in need of medical care.
Louis Richard Wood, 35, of Mission Viejo, could get 25 years to life in state prison if convicted, according to an Orange County District Attorney's office (OCDA) arraignment statement.
Wood, who was indicted on the murder count March 11, is accused of having been a heroin dealer for approximately 10 years and was using approximately one to two grams of heroin a day when the tragic events unfolded in November 2011.
For several days that month, Wood stayed at the Extended Stay America Hotel in Lake Forest with 21-year-old Emma Wihlborg, with whom he had been having a sexual relationship with for about three weeks. She had medical conditions for which she regularly used Xanax and other prescription drugs.
On Nov. 15, 2011, Wood was sharing the room with Wihlborg and his unidentified heroin supplier, using horse. Wihlborg left for awhile to visit a friend and when she returned later that night, according to the OCDA, she appeared intoxicated. She is said to have told Wood and the other dealer she had consumed a large amount of alcohol and had smoked Oxycontin, and upon her arrival she took some Xanax.
Wood is accused of knowing mixing booze and drugs can be fatal but, despite Wihlborg's intoxicated state, drank alcohol, smoked marijuana and took black tar heroin with her and the supplier, according to the OCDA.
The defendant is accused of following this up by giving Wihlborg a crushed methadone pill, which she ingested before passing out in a chair in the hotel room. The following morning, Wood allegedly tried to wake her as she did not appear to be breathing. She was placed in a shower and blasted with cold water, but she still did not wake up.
Wood is accused of then putting her in a hotel bed despite the other dealer's pleas to take her to a hospital. Wood instead left Wihlborg alone in the room as he went with the dealer to fetch more drugs. When they returned, Wihlborg had yellow and pink mucus leaking from her nose and she still was not breathing, claims the OCDA, which added Wood's subsequent cardiopulmonary resuscitation attempts failed as the other dealer called 9-1-1. Paramedics arrived and pronounced Wihlborg dead.
The Orange County Sheriff's Department investigated, and the coroner's autopsy revealed that Wihlborg died as a result of "Acute Polydrug Intoxication with Dehydration," or a lethal combination of drugs, the OCDA statement notes.
Wood is on the hook for murder because he knew providing Wihlborg with drugs was dangerous and that, as the coroner found, her ingesting heroin and methadone in her already intoxicated state was a substantial factor in her death, according to the OCDA.
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Prosecutors point to Wood's prior knowledge of the dangers of using and combining drugs from a March 26, 2011, incident--eight months before Wihlborg expired. He was present when a 16-year-old girl also died of "Acute Polydrug Intoxication." Wood had provided her with heroin before, the OCDA says, but no evidence has been found to indicate he did so hat night. The dealer did know the 16-year-old had mixed heroin and Xanax, the OCDA adds.
Among the witnesses against Wood is a 21-year-old woman who claims Wood provided her with heroin for about four years, that he injected her with heroin around 100 times and that on several occasions Wood revived her from unconsciousness, boasting he had saved her life, according to the OCDA.
He is to be arraigned Friday morning in Santa Ana.