EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (AP) — A trial is under way in a southwestern Illinois heroin death case that helped touch off a regional crackdown on such tragedies.

Testimony in 20-year-old Taylor Kennedy’s Madison County trial opened after a prosecutor and defense attorney offered differing accounts of circumstances involving Shannon Gaddis’ January 2011 death.

The Belleville News-Democrat reports that prosecutor Susan Jensen told jurors that her witnesses will consistently explain that Kennedy bought and delivered the heroin that killed 17-year-old Gaddis.

But defense attorney James Drazen contends Gaddis and a friend grabbed heroin off Kennedy’s lap after he had passed out. Drazen says Kennedy didn’t want to give the heroin to anyone because he wanted it himself.

The charge is punishable by up to 30 years in prison.

Kennedy has pleaded not guilty.

© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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