A judge has released a man from custody under the SAFE-T Act after he was charged with drug-induced homicide for allegedly selling heroin that caused the death of a U.S. Army veteran in Woodstock.
Michael F. Walach, 62, of Kenosha, Wisconsin, was charged in July with drug-induced homicide, a Class X felony, and manufacture or delivery of a controlled substance, a Class 2 felony.
He was arrested in August and ordered held in the McHenry County Jail on a $250,000 bond.
Prosecutors had filed a petition to hold Walach without bond before the end of cash bail went into effect, saying that he “poses an extreme threat to the health and safety to the community at-large.”
McHenry County Judge James Cowlin denied that petition and Walach remained held in the jail on the cash bond.
A public defender for Walach filed a motion earlier this month after the new Pretrial Fairness Act of the SAFE-T Act went into effect.
The attorney requested Walach be released from jail, saying he was unable to post the cash bond.
Prosecutors then filed a petition requesting the court detain Walach pending his trial, saying he poses a real and present threat to the safety of the community.
Cowlin denied prosecutors’ petition and granted Walach’s motion for release.
The charges Walach were filed following an investigation into the death of Stefan J. Bruckner, who was found dead in his Super 8 Motel room in Woodstock on January 19, 2022.
McHenry County Assistant State’s Attorney Matthew Brodersen said a baggy of tan powder that tested positive for pure heroin was recovered from Bruckner’s motel room. A rolled-up dollar bill was next to the bag.
The coroner ruled Bruckner’s death was from the adverse effects of morphine. Heroin breaks down into morphine in the body.
Bruckner, 45, of Hebron, was a patient at the time of a local addiction recovery service.
An employee at the service called authorities to perform a well-being check on Bruckner after not hearing from him, Brodersen said.
Bruckner had last spoken with his girlfriend on January 15, 2022, at which time he said Walach and another man had come to visit him.
Phone records showed that Bruckner asked Walach on January 14, 2022, for “dope,” which is slang for heroin, Brodersen said.
Brodersen said the two arranged for Walach to bring the “dope” to Bruckner for $160.
Bruckner texted “see you soon” to Walach on January 15, 2022.
Walach is a convicted felon with two prior convictions for manufacturing or delivery of a controlled substance. One of the convictions resulted in a nine-year prison sentence.
An obituary for Bruckner said he was a father of two and an honorable U.S. Army National Guard.
“He was a tremendously talented mechanic and prided himself in working for Woodstock Harley Davidson. He was a kind and generous man, always willing to help anyone in need,” the obituary said.
Walach, who was released from the jail last week on pre-trial release conditions, is scheduled to appear in court again on October 24 for a trial status hearing.