FDL County DA Announces Conviction In Drug Overdose Death

Fond du Lac County District Attorney Eric J. Toney announced that on Friday September 17, 2021, after a five day jury trial, a Fond du Lac County jury convicted Sonny V. Lawrence of First Degree Reckless Homicide – Party to a crime, for his role in the delivery of fentanyl, which led to the death of Austin Vande Zande on March 27, 2020 in the City of Fond du Lac.

Sonny Lawrence of Milwaukee was named as the the source of the fentanyl and is the second individual charged in the chain of delivery that led to Austin Vande Zande’s death and the first to be convicted.

District Attorney Toney stated in a press release issued Monday “My heart goes out to the family and friends of Austin and I ask that you keep them in your prayers as they continue mourn his death. Families have been devastated by the deadly effects of fentanyl and 2020 was a tragic record year in Fond du Lac County for overdose deaths. We will continue to aggressively investigate and prosecute those responsible for delivering these deadly drugs in order to protect our community and those that reside in our state.”

The City of Fond du Lac Police Department led the investigation and was assisted by the Fond du Lac County Sheriff’s Office and Lake Winnebago Metropolitan Enforcement Group. Toney said “the dedication of the investigators throughout this investigation was tremendous and instrumental in securing this conviction.”

Sonny Lawrence faces up to 25 years of initial prison confinement and 15 years of extended supervision and/or a fine up to $100,000 at sentencing. The court ordered a pre-sentence investigation and a sentencing date has not yet been set.

This case was personally prosecuted by District Attorney Eric J. Toney.