Man charged with homicide in Tomah drug overdose death

Shane Shelby charged in overdose death of Derik McGovern from July 2014

A Necedah man has been charged with first degree reckless homicide in the drug overdose death of Derik J. McGovern in Tomah.

Tomah police said McGovern was found dead at 219 Glendale Avenue in the City of Tomah at about 11:15 a.m. on July 1, 2014. At the time there was no obvious or known cause of death that could be determined.

After an investigation by the Monroe County Joint Task Force, the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office filed a four-count criminal complaint against 39-year-old Shane T. Shelby. He has been charged with first degree reckless homicide, two counts of manufacture/delivery of heroin, and one count of possession of narcotic drugs.

Tomah police said from past contacts with McGovern, it was known that he was an alleged drug user. Based upon information gained from interviews from people who had been with McGovern prior to his death, it was alleged that McGovern had purchased and used heroin in the early morning hours on the day of his death.  Autopsy results showed McGovern’s cause of death was an acute heroin fatality.

The Task Force found evidence of multiple drug transactions which had taken place over the course of the last few months leading up to McGovern’s death. Video tape evidence from hours before his death supports the claim, Tomah police said. Investigators found evidence that Shelby delivered heroin to McGovern, which led to the overdose death of McGovern.

Tomah police said at the time of the incident, Shelby was on supervision through the Wisconsin Department of Corrections. Shelby is currently being held in prison by the Wisconsin Department of Corrections.

“Cases like this are the reason we put this task force together,” said Tomah Police Chief Nicholson.  “Mr. McGovern’s death illustrates the dangers of heroin and why the Tomah Police Department and the Monroe County Joint Investigative Task Force are working so hard to remove both heroin and those who provide heroin from the community.”

Shelby is scheduled to make his initial court appearance on February 3 at the Monroe County Courthouse in Sparta. 

Agencies that helped in this investigation include the Tomah Police Department, Sparta Police Department, Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, Juneau County Sheriff’s Department, and the West Central Metropolitan Enforcement Group.