Father in Whitefish Bay drug case pleads not guilty

Tom Kertscher

March 27, 2009

Richard Laughrin, who has admitted he helped dump an unconscious Madison Kiefer in a driveway minutes before she was pronounced dead, pleaded not guilty Friday to two felonies.

The 58-year-old Shorewood man was charged with child abandonment and neglect after Kiefer's death. On Friday, prosecutors added misdemeanor charges of possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. Laughrin, who is free on bail, also pleaded not guilty to those charges.

Authorities are still awaiting State Crime Lab test results to determine the cause of Kiefer's death. She was 15 and a Whitefish Bay High School freshman when she died March 1.

Kiefer had a history of drug abuse. A witness has told police Kiefer obtained drugs from Laughrin's son, Matthew, the night before she died, and spent the night at his Whitefish Bay home.

Richard Laughrin has said his son called him the next morning and they drove Kiefer to the Whitefish Bay home of one of Kiefer's friends. The friend told police she brought Kiefer from the driveway inside her home, where Kiefer was pronounced dead a short time later.

Matthew Laughrin, 22, who is in jail, pleaded not guilty this week to a felony marijuana possession charge. He has two prior felony drug convictions and was suspected by Whitefish Bay police of selling drugs to teens from his home.

No homicide charge has been filed in Kiefer's death, although one could be brought after the lab results come in.

Brittany Blue, 18, of Glendale, who is free on bail, pleaded not guilty this week to a felony drug delivery charge.

Blue has told police she gave to Matthew Laughrin several pills of Suboxone - which is used to treat heroin addicts - two days before Kiefer's death.

A witness told police she saw Matthew Laughrin give a Suboxone pill to Kiefer the night before Kiefer died.

The lab test results, expected in a few weeks, should tell whether Suboxone or other drugs were in Kiefer's body.

No trial dates have been set.

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