Woman jailed for lethal drug transaction

Published 10:02 am Monday, June 15, 2015

Update: Corrected the spelling of the name “Irwin.” Also the relation between Irwin and the defendant has been corrected.

Lillian Irwin’s outrage was only matched by her immense grief as she described the pain she and her children experienced following the tragic fatal overdose of her son, Kyle Roberts, to a Cassopolis courtroom Friday morning.

Describing the heartache she felt as she saw her son lying in a hospital bed before doctors pulled him off life support, Irwin asked Judge Michael Dodge for just one thing — that the woman who delivered the dose of Xanax pills he took the night before his death see justice.

Malina Kay Ausra

Malina Kay Ausra

That woman was Irwin’s former sister-in-law, Malina Kay Ausra, who was facing sentencing that morning for her actions that led to Roberts’ overdose.

“Malina is a thief,” Irwin said. “She stole my son’s life, she let my daughter-in-law be widowed, and left my boys without their brother. Before you sentence Malina, I ask that you think about the pain she has inflicted on my family.”

The Dowagiac woman did in fact receive her punishment from the judge that day — though not to the extent that her grieving former sister-in-law desired.

Dodge sentenced Ausra, 41, to 180 days in jail and two years of probation for three counts of delivery of a controlled substance. The woman had pleaded guilty to the charges during an earlier appearance in court on May 7.

The incident leading to these charges occurred on April 29, at a residence on 206 Hill St. in the city. That evening, Ausra gave some of her Xanax pills to her nephew, who had been drinking heavily at the time, Dodge said.

“The last thing he needed was for you to give him some of your prescribed medication,” Dodge said.

After waking up the next morning, Ausra discovered that Roberts was unresponsive. As a result, he was transported to Borgess-Lee Memorial Hospital for treatment, and later airlifted to Borgess in Kalamazoo where he died several days later, after doctors determined he was brain dead.

Despite the lethal results of the evening, county prosecutors could only charge Ausra with delivery of a controlled substance. While state law does allow suspects to be charged with the more serious crime of delivery of a controlled substance causing death, Xanax does not fall within the list of drugs that can result in this charge, explained Chief Assistant Prosecutor Frank Machnik.

“This is one of those cases that is very frustrating for me a prosecutor, and for the criminal justice system as a whole,” Machnik said.

While Irwin, in her statement, requested that Ausra serve separate sentences for each of the three charges against her, state law only permitted her to serve one concurrent sentence for her crimes. The assistant prosecutor did request that she serve six months of jail for her actions, which the judge granted.

“There are a lot of indications that you have a serious problem with substance abuse, and this is the tragic result,” Dodge said.

Ausra was given 45 days credit for time already served.