Brandon Scott Jorgenson, 38, pled guilty to felony third-degree murder, according to online court records. It is expected that a felony charge of third-degree controlled substance crime – sale – will be dismissed at sentencing. Sentencing has been set for Monday, May 3.
The case continues to proceed against Timothy Andrew Roy, 33, St. Cloud. He has been charged with third-degree murder. Roy is currently incarcerated at the state prison in St. Cloud on an unrelated drug charge. A contested omnibus hearing in Roy’s case is scheduled for Tuesday, April 20.
The charges stemmed from the death of Ryan Oscar Eggerud, 37, at his Thief River Falls home. Eggerud had died of “mixed drug toxicity due to fentanyl and methamphetamine,” according to the complaints.
Roy is accused of selling the drug mixture to Jorgenson, who then provided some of the mixtures to Eggerud.
On March 21, 2020, the Thief River Falls Police Department and Thief River Falls Area Ambulance responded to a 911 call at Eggerud’s home. The caller reported that Eggerud had been found in a bathroom and it was believed that he was dead. An ambulance crew member determined that Eggerud had been deceased for some time.
Near Eggerud’s body, investigators found a cap for a hypodermic needle. After his body was removed from the area, a hypodermic needle was found underneath where he had been located. A police officer found a bindle containing a substance that later allegedly tested positive for fentanyl and meth.
Police learned from Eggerud’s wife that he had left their home around 5 p.m. a night earlier to visit a friend at Cedar Lodge in Thief River Falls. She didn’t know the name of the friend. She said he returned about three-and-a-half hours later. The next morning, she awoke to a child saying that Eggerud was believed to be asleep in the bathroom.
Looking at Eggerud’s cell phone, police determined that he had been in contact with Jorgenson a day earlier. They knew that Jorgenson rented an apartment there. Police soon obtained video surveillance, showing the couple’s van and Eggerud being dropped off at that location. His wife later admitted that she had dropped him off there.
Based on that information, police executed a search warrant for Jorgenson’s room, Number 17, at 7:29 p.m. March 21, 2020. Jorgenson provided a statement to police, saying he, Eggerud, and another man had gone to a home near Goodridge to buy controlled substances. He said they believed they were purchasing heroin, but Jorgenson said it was too potent to be heroin. Jorgenson said he and Eggerud began using the substance on the way back to Thief River Falls. He said he would be able to identify the seller if a photo lineup was provided.
The police investigator met with Jorgenson to show him the photo lineup on March 23, 2020. At that point, he identified the seller as Roy and said Roy lived in Bemidji. Jorgenson said he believed that the substance was fentanyl or another controlled substance, not heroin, as he had initially thought.
Another investigator then contacted the Paul Bunyan Drug Task Force since the drugs had been purchased in Bemidji. He learned that the task force was investigating Roy and had a search warrant ready for Roy’s home. Upon learning about Roy’s connection to Eggerud’s overdose death, the task force executed the search warrant. The task force allegedly found about 164 grams of suspected fentanyl in Roy’s home.
Roy allegedly later told the Thief River Falls police investigator that he believed the mixture was fentanyl, but he was unsure. He said he had used the drug and knew it was strong.
Roy allegedly said he sold the drugs to Jorgenson and another man, who isn’t listed earlier in this article. He sold two pieces of the drug – for $50 each – to each man in Bemidji. Roy said Eggerud wasn’t present during the sale. When asked, he said he knew about Eggerud’s death. Roy denied knowing what the substance contained, but he admitted it was a strong drug. The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension later determined the substance was a mixture of fentanyl and meth.
Police later corroborated Roy’s statement after observing messages on Jorgenson’s phone. They also learned from Eggerud’s wife that he was home at the time of the sale.
On April 1, 2020, a PBDTF commander reported that Roy and a female were discussing Eggerud’s overdose during a phone call at the Beltrami County Jail. At that time, Roy allegedly admitted that he sold the drug to Jorgenson, who then provided it to Eggerud.
Later that day, the Thief River Falls police investigator performed a traffic stop on a vehicle being driven by the man who was alleged with Jorgenson during the sale. He initially denied giving Jorgenson a ride to Roy’s home that day; however, he later said he had driven Jorgenson to Bemidji. The man said Eggerud hadn’t accompanied them.