OLIVIA — A Montevideo woman has pleaded guilty to 3rd degree murder in Renville County.  On Wednesday, 21-year-old Deja Padilla of Montevideo, pleaded guilty to Murder in the Third Degree for the death of 23-year-old Alexis Nicole Labatte on November 13th, 2021. 

At the plea hearing, Padilla admitted to traveling to Labatte’s home to sell her fentanyl, which then led to her death. According to the complaint, Renville County dispatch received a 911 call shortly after midnight on November 13, 2021 about an overdose at a residence in the City of Renville. The caller reported that there was an unconscious female at the residence, but that the female was still breathing. Investigators later determined the caller was identified as Ms. Padilla and she was driving away from the residence at the time of the call.

Law enforcement attempted live-saving efforts on Labatte, however she was later declared deceased. Eye-Witnesses observed Padilla at the scene shortly before Labatte was found, and Padilla did not alert anyone in the residence that Labatte was struggling, before leaving. Renville County Sheriff’s deputies interviewed Padilla. She told deputies Labatte was “pretty messed up,” stumbling, slurring her words, and hunched over the bed. Padilla told investigators she needed to leave the scene because she needed to return a car that she borrowed. Law enforcement obtained information from Padilla’s cell phone including numerous messages about heroin and methamphetamine sales, as well as advice from her boyfriend after the incident to turn off her location data. 

The Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office issued the final autopsy report for Labatte, opining the cause of death as toxic effects of methamphetamine and fentanyl. 

At almost the same time this incident was occurring, Montevideo Police responded to another overdose in which the victim survived. The victim stated that she had purchased heroin from Ms. Padilla that night, and that she then suffered an overdose. Law enforcement believes that the drugs sold by Ms. Padilla had an extremely high potency. At the time of this incident, Ms. Padilla had pending drug charges in a variety of counties and eight active arrest warrants. 

Following her plea, Ms. Padilla was sentenced to 84 months with the Minnesota Department of Corrections.