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The County of DuPage
Wheaton, Illinois

Press Release

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Appellate Court Affirms Drug Induced Homicide Conviction

DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert B. Berlin announced that the Second District Appellate Court of Illinois has affirmed the conviction of Kevin Liszka, 36, formerly of Melrose Park. Liszka was found guilty of supplying a fatal dose of heroin to a twenty-six-year-old Naperville man in 2015. On March 2, 2018, a jury found Liszka guilty of one count of Drug Induced Homicide (Class X Felony). On July 3, 2018, Judge George Bakalis sentenced Liszka to eighteen years in the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC). The Appellate Court affirmed the conviction on June 29, 2020.

At trial, the State proved that in February 2015, Liszka delivered heroin to another individual, Skyler Sabala, who in turn delivered the heroin to the victim, Marcus Penton. The State also proved that Penton ingested the heroin supplied to him by Sabala, which Sabala obtained from Liszka, and subsequently died from a drug overdose. On October 4, 2016, Sabala entered a plea of guilty to one count of Manufacture/Delivery of a Controlled Substance (Class 2 Felony) and was sentenced to seven years in the IDOC.

In his appeal, Liszka presented seven possible issues for review at the appellate level. Liszka’s Appellate Defender however, tendered a motion to the Appellate Court to withdraw as counsel. In support of his motion to withdraw as counsel, the Appellate Defender provided a memorandum of law that provided a “statement of facts and an argument why this appeal presents no issues of arguable merit.” A thirty-day period allowing for the defendant to respond has since passed. In their affirmation, the Appellate Court stated, “we agree with counsel that this appeal presents no issue of arguable merit … and affirm the judgment of the circuit court of DuPage County.”

“I would like to thank the Appellate Court for their thorough examination of both the record and the Appellate Defender’s memorandum of law and for their conclusion that “the appeal presents no issue of arguable merit,” Berlin said. “Their ruling not only preserves Mr. Liszka’s well-deserved sentence, it also sends the message that drug dealers in DuPage County will be held accountable if it has been determined that they were the source of a fatal overdose.”

Justice Schostok delivered the judgment of the Court with Justices Hudson and Bridges concurring.