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Bail reduced for Olivia man charged with murder in in woman's July overdose death

Bradley James Westphal, 37, is charged with third-degree murder related to a July 18 incident that resulted in the death of Connie Havens, 57, of Loveland, Colorado, at Westphal's home.

Bradley James Westphal
Bradley James Westphal
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OLIVIA — A District Court judge has reduced the bail for an Olivia man charged with third-degree murder after allegedly giving a woman the fentanyl that led to her death in July.

Bradley James Westphal, 37, appeared Wednesday before District Judge Laurence Stratton in Renville County District Court for a motion to reduce his bail for the single charge related to the July 18 incident that resulted in the death of Connie Havens, 57, of Loveland, Colorado, at Westphal's home.

Westphal's initial conditional bail was set by Stratton at $300,000 in late December but was reduced Wednesday to $60,000 following a motion by Westphal's defense attorney Coley Groystyan, of Minneapolis.

"My client was born and raised in Renville County," Groystyan argued in court Wednesday, adding that Westphal has family, friends and supporters in the area and is currently employed. "His flight risk is next to nothing."

Renville Assistant County Attorney Kelsie Kingstrom argued that bail should not be reduced.

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"There is a continuing public safety risk for giving people drugs that kill them," she said in court.

Under his new release conditions, Westphal is required to pay for pre-trial supervision and GPS monitoring.

Included in the motion to reduce Westphal's bail was also a motion to allow Westphal to resume a "significant relationship" with a person he was barred from contacting.

Judge Stratton kept his no contact order in place as well as the $300,000 bail or bond for unconditional release.

According to the criminal complaint, Westphal gave Havens fentanyl pills, which the two snorted in the bathroom of his Olivia residence.

After snorting the pill, Havens sat on a couch for 15 to 20 minutes before she started to fall asleep and gasp for air, according to a 19-year-old woman mentioned in the complaint who also was at Westphal's home.

Shawnee Marie Pugh-Havens, a daughter of Havens, identified the 19-year-old as one of Havens' daughters.

According to the complaint, the 19-year-old yelled at Westphal to call 911, but he refused to do so. Instead, he removed drugs and drug paraphernalia from the residence and called various other people to tell them about what happened.

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The 19-year-old told law enforcement that she and Havens had gone to Westphal's residence looking for Percocet.

"My mom wouldn't have taken (the pills) if she knew it was fentanyl," Pugh-Havens said. "She had a grandkid on the way. My mom didn't want to die."

Officers arrived around 12:43 a.m. July 19 to find Havens not breathing and without a pulse. She was transported to a hospital where she died.

During questioning, Westphal first told law enforcement that Havens arrived at his residence, was tired and then fell asleep. Westphal told law enforcement that she had brought Percocet pills to his residence, crushed them and that he and the two women all snorted some before the victim stopped responding. He told law enforcement she still had a pulse at the time.

According to the autopsy results, the woman died from the effects of fentanyl. Percocet was not found in the toxicology report.

Westphal's next court date is scheduled for March 14.

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The Tribune publishes Records as part of its obligation to inform readers about the business of public institutions and to serve as a keeper of the local historical record. All items are written by Tribune staff members based on information contained in public documents from the state court system and from law enforcement agencies. It is the Tribune’s policy that this column contain a complete record. Requests for items to be withheld will not be granted.

Mark Wasson has been a public safety reporter with Post Bulletin since May 2022. Previously, he worked as a general assignment reporter in the southwest metro and as a public safety reporter in Willmar, Minn. Readers can reach Mark at mwasson@postbulletin.com.
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