A Reserve man, 29-year-old Jonathan Ray Kakazu, pleaded guilty Wednesday, June 17, in Sawyer County Circuit court to first-degree reckless homicide by delivering narcotic drugs in the death of 21-year-old Cassidy Joy Metropulos of Hayward Aug. 27, 2019.
Metropulos was found dead at a residence on Water Tower Road on the LCO reservation. A medical examiner stated that Metropulos’ death was due to fentanyl toxicity and that a prescription pain medication, Tramadol, also was present in her blood.
At Wednesday’s plea hearing, Judge John P. Anderson accepted Kakazu’s guilty plea, ordered a pre-sentence investigation from the Department of Corrections and set a sentencing hearing for Sept. 14. He ordered Kakazu to be held in jail until sentencing.
The prosecutor in the case, District Attorney Bruce Poquette, and defense attorneys Ryan Reid and Joseph Schieffer have jointly recommended to the court that Kakazu be sentenced to 12 years in prison followed by 12 years of extended supervision, and that he pay restitution.
The judge is not obligated to accept the recommended sentence. The maximum possible sentence in this case would be 40 years in prison plus a $100,000 fine.
Judge Anderson dismissed but read in two other Sawyer County drug charges against Kakazu: possession of heroin Feb. 14, 2018, in Hayward; and conspiracy to deliver heroin Aug. 29, 2017.
Judge Anderson appeared by videoconference from the Bayfield County Court in Washburn.
There were approximately 34 persons at Wednesday’s plea hearing in court, including Kakazu, family members of the accused and the victim, attorneys, clerk of court staff and sheriff’s deputies. Persons entering the court were required to wear masks as per the order of the Public Health Officer due to the COVID-19 health crisis.
Judge Anderson criticized Sawyer County for allegedly not having a social-distancing plan in place for in-person court hearings. He said if such a plan is not in place by Sept. 14, he will order that there be another room available for spectators to watch the sentencing hearing through a video connection.