Tragedy in Kansas: Medical-Marijuana User Dies After Police Raid
Jennifer Hess, her husband Homer Wilson and their two sons were minding their own business on the night of Thursday, May 23 in their Eureka, Kansas home when policed knocked on the door. What happened next would change their lives forever.
The officers said “someone had reported screaming coming from my house, which there wasn’t, and I went to close the door. At that point, they forced the door open. Two of them entered the house, and they demanded I go outside,” Hess tells Freedom Leaf.
On June 14 on Facebook, she wrote: “They said they were getting a search warrant, alleging they had seen drug paraphernalia in the house.”
Police searched the house and found “293 grams” of cannabis, “all personal use.” Hess and Wilson both had medical conditions and used marijuana for that purpose, she said. “They made up a reason to come to my door, probably because there was no one we associate with to do a controlled buy.”
Wilson and Hess Arrested on the Following Charges
• distribute marijuana 25-450 grams
• possession of paraphernalia with intent to manufacture/plant/cultivate a controlled substance
• possession of opiate, opium, narcotic or certain stimulant
• no drug stamp for marijuana or controlled substance
• two charges of aggravated endangering a child, reckless situation to child (less than 18)
• possession of marijuana
• use/possession with intent to use drug paraphernalia into the human body
They were arrested and taken to the Greenwood County Jail. Their sons, Ashton, 15, and Holden, 11 were placed in protective custody. Bail was set at $50,000 each.
Stricken in Jail, Homer Wilson Dies in Hospital
The story, however, gets much worse. On Friday, June 7, according to a press release from Greenwood County Sheriff Heath Samuels, as reported by the Emporia radio station KVOE, “Greenwood County EMS and Eureka Rescue responded to a call that an inmate was experiencing ‘medical issues.’ Prior to EMS’ arrival on scene, deputies began administering CPR before the inmate, identified as Homer M. Wilson Jr. of Eureka, was taken to Greenwood County Hospital by ambulance. The Sheriff’s Office reports Wilson was later pronounced deceased. Due to this being an in-custody death the investigation into the cause will be handled by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation (KBI).”
Hess tells Freedom Leaf about Wilson, who was 35: “He had mitral valve prolapse (a heart condition), hypertension, bipolar disorder and ADHD, and also some issues with his ear. He was not about to die before we went in. He was on several medications, mostly for blood pressure, and on Lithium.”
JENNIFER HESS: “We were absolutely using (cannabis) medically.”
Hess, who is 39, suffers from severe depression, general anxiety, social anxiety, ADHD and fibromyalgia. “We were absolutely using (cannabis) medically,” she said.
On Facebook, Hess explained: “On June 7, I was preparing to bond out and was taken to the interview room and informed by the Sheriff and a KBI agent that my husband had a medical emergency, and he didn’t make it. They proceeded to ask me questions about his health and habits, then left me in the interview room for about 30 minutes. Now, I’m separated from my kids and unable to be with them during this difficult time, and facing serious charges all alone. I’d like to know what makes us such a danger to society that my husband deserved to lose his life.”
The cause of Wilson’s death remains unknown. “I was told the report would take about 90 days from time of death,” she says. “I’ll have to request that from district court.”
The Legal Burden Now Falls on Jennifer Hess
Hess’ children were placed with a family by a local nonprofit to whom custodies are outsourced. “St. Francis is a religious organization,” she says. “They handle these kinds of situations, and they’re going to try to reintegrate them back into the home. But I’m looking at them being gone until December, at the soonest, from what I’m told. That’s a lot of time with my kids that I can’t get back. I get to see them once a week, supervised.”
Meanwhile, Hess is undergoing court-ordered treatment for substance-use disorder, which she doesn’t have and for which she has to pay, and is going to court to fight the long list of criminal charges. About the cultivation charge, she relates, “It was because I had a grow tent, which was not fully assembled and had never been used, and I had no intention of using it for that purpose in the state of Kansas. But apparently they thought that was enough to consider it cultivation.”
In Kansas, according to NORML, possession of 25-450 grams of cannabis is a felony that faces penalties of 46-83 months in jail and a maximum fine of $300,000. Cultivation is also a felony, although in Hess’ case no plants were found. Possession of paraphernalia is a misdemeanor. Kansas does not allow residents to use medical-marijuana.
JENNIFER HESS: “Now, I’m separated from my kids and unable to be with them during this difficult time, and facing serious charges all alone. I’d like to know what makes us such a danger to society that my husband deserved to lose his life.”
One of the possession counts is for what the police suspect is methamphetamine, a charge Hess strongly denies. “I don’t do meth. I did not have meth. There was both a urine and follicle test of me and a follicle test of my husband, and neither one of them showed positive for meth. Meth is a real problem in this community. You’d think they could concern themselves with people who are actually manufacturing and doing meth.”
Hess can’t afford her own lawyer, so she’s been assigned a court-appointed attorney, Chris Pate. He didn’t return phone or email messages left by Freedom Leaf.
Hess contends that the original search was a violation of thei Fourth Amendment rights. “As far as I’m concerned, they were trespassing. When they shoved their way in, they were breaking and entering.
“I’m the kind of person that wants a simple domestic life,” she maintains. “Then these jackbooted thugs forced their way into my house, kidnapped my children, took my freedom and killed my husband. When it comes to injustice, I’m not one to keep my mouth shut. Ever.”