Koppel Death Ruled An Accident
Koppel, 40, who was living in Rockaway Park with his girlfriend, also had Levamisole in his system, an illegal drug used to cut or dilute cocaine and heroin, the medical examiner added.
It is unknown by police where Koppel obtained the drugs or when exactly they were used. However, Koppel was found dead by paramedics in an apartment on Audubon Avenue and 180 Street in Manhattan on June 1. The apartment belonged to a man who spent the day with Koppel, moving from bar to bar on a reported 12-hour drinking binge.
Belinda Caban, who lives in the apartment with the man identified as Russell Wimberly, a waiter, with whom the deceased had been drinking that day, said that Koppel was very drunk when her partner brought him home to sober up.
“He was very messed up when he came in, very drunk,” she told Daily News reporters after the incident.
She said that she checked on Koppel later in the evening after laying him down to rest in a bedroom and that he was breathing. But after a couple of hours, Caban found that he had thrown up and defecated in her bed and appeared not to be breathing. She proceeded to call 911. Paramedics declared him dead at the scene.
Koppel lived with his pregnant girlfriend, noted photographer Ilona Lieberman, and their two-year-old daughter, Alice, at her parent’s Beach 125 Street home. He was an attorney for the New York City Housing Authority until 2008, when he left to teach at John Jay College. Koppel was a graduate of Georgetown University‘s law school and reportedly battled alcohol addiction for most of his adult life. Koppel was convicted in 1993 of punching a senatorial aide during a drunken rage while he was a student there. He was ordered to participate in an alcohol treatment program and three years before that, he was arrested for driving while intoxicated.