MINNEAPOLIS - The brother of former NHL strongman Derek Boogaard pleaded guilty Thursday to a gross misdemeanour in his brother's overdose death, admitting to what his attorney called "an error of judgment" in destroying evidence in the case.
Aaron Boogaard reached a plea deal in Hennepin County that lets him walk free with a stayed six-month sentence, plus probation and community service.
Boogaard, 25, was charged with interfering with the scene of a death after admitting he flushed pills down the toilet after finding his brother dead in his Minneapolis apartment May 13. A felony charge against Boogaard for supplying a painkiller that contributed to his brother's death was dismissed last week.
Derek Boogaard was a fan favourite for the Minnesota Wild before joining the New York Rangers for a final, injury-plagued season. After his death at age 28, his family acknowledged that he had become addicted to painkillers.
They said Aaron Boogaard had attempted to help his brother with his addiction by controlling his access to drugs, and they criticized authorities for charging him.
Boogaard didn't comment after the hearing, but his attorney John Lundquist said he and his family are glad to have the case over.
Boogaard "acknowledged today that he made an error in judgment in doing so while suffering from extreme shock after coming home and finding that Derek had passed away," Lundquist said.
The younger Boogaard plays for a Wild farm team, the Houston Aeros.
Derek Boogaard, known as "The Boogeyman," was one of the most feared fighters in the league. The 6-foot-7-inch, 265-pound forward racked up 589 penalty minutes in 277 career games. He left the Wild for a four-year deal with the Rangers and scored one goal in 22 games before his season was ended by a concussion, five months before his death.