Ontonagon Man Acquitted in Drug Case

An Ontonagon man is acquitted of giving another man drugs that killed him.

A jury has found 59-year-old Frank Wheeler not guilty.

Wheeler was charged with delivery of a controlled substance, causing death.

He’d been accused of giving a prescription painkiller to 19-year-old Nicholas Derenzo last year.

Derenzo gave the drug patch to a friend of his, 23-year-old Finley Padden.

He died in his Ontonagon home after using the patch.

Wheeler was the second person to be charged in the case.

Derenzo was the first.

He pleaded guilty to a lesser drug-related charge in exchange for his testimony at Wheeler’s trial.

Wheeler could have received up to life in prison if he’d been convicted.