Four charged in Griffen Kramer's death

Updated: November 19, 2011, 4:18 AM ET
By Tim Haddock | Special to ESPNLosAngeles.com

Four teenagers have been charged with involuntary manslaughter in connection with the death of Griffen Kramer, a quarterback on the Thousand Oaks High School football team and the son of former NFL quarterback Erik Kramer.

Griffen Kramer, 18, a senior at Thousand Oaks High School, was found dead at a friend's home in Agoura Hills on Oct. 30.

David Nernberg, 19, of Agoura Hills and Corey Baumann, 19, of Agoura Hills were arrested and charged with involuntary manslaughter and possession of a controlled substance by Sheriff's investigators. Baumann was charged with possession of a controlled substance for sale in addition to involuntary manslaughter.

Two 17-year-old juveniles were arrested by Sheriff's deputies and charged with involuntary manslaughter and possession of a controlled substance. One of the juveniles, a boy from Oak Park, is being held at Sylmar Juvenile Hall without bail.

The other 17-year-old suspect is a girl from Westlake Village. She was taken into protective custody by the Department of Family and Child Services Response Team because of deplorable living conditions.

Sheriff's investigators conducted searches and collected evidence directly related to the death of Kramer at each of the suspects' residences, according to Parker.

A fifth suspect, a 17-year-old boy from Agoura Hills, was also arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance. He was released to the custody of his parents.

Five children from the home of the 17-year-old boy from Oak Park were taken into custody by the Department of Family and Child Services.

Sgt. Barry Hall of the Sheriff's Department Homicide Bureau said Kramer overdosed on heroin.

"We're still waiting for a toxicology results to determine the ultimate cause of death," he said.

Nernberg and Baumann were released on Thursday on $125,000 bail each, according to reports.

Hall said that on Oct. 29, Kramer, Nernberg and a 17-year-old juvenile met in Sumac Park in Agoura Hills and drove to a nearby cul-de-sac where Kramer injected some heroin.

"He overdosed and went unconscious," Hall said. "Rather than seeking immediate medical attention, (Nernberg) called some other heroin users and asked them what to do. They didn't want any part of it, so he drove him to his home."

Hall said that Nernberg believed Kramer was asleep and left him in his house. Nernberg returned around 12:30 a.m. to check on Kramer and Hall said Nernberg believed Kramer was still asleep.

"He woke up the following morning and called 911 because Griffen was unresponsive," Hall said.

Detectives are investigating whether Baumann supplied the heroin to Kramer and Nernberg and what role the two juveniles played in Kramer's death, Hall said.

Nernberg played with Kramer on the Agoura High football team for two seasons. Nernberg graduated from Agoura High School in June.

Kramer attended Agoura High School in his freshman year and for part of his sophomore year. He left the school to enter a drug rehabilitation program for substance abuse before transferring to Thousand Oaks High School for his senior year, according to the Ventura County Star.

Before leaving Agoura High School, Kramer told the Ventura County Star, "If it wasn't for football, I might have fallen into the rabbit hole and not made it back."

Hall said he was shocked to discover Kramer died of a heroin overdose. He says heroin-related deaths in the part of Los Angeles County where he works are "pretty rare."

"I don't know what to say," Hall said. "I want to think it is not widespread. Obviously there is something out there. I hope it goes away. It's like playing with fire."

Tim Haddock is a regular contributor to ESPNLosAngeles.com.

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