Hibbing man charged with murder in woman’s overdose death

13 July 2023

HIBBING A man already serving prison time for drug crimes has been charged with causing a woman’s overdose death in February.

Authorities this week filed a third-degree murder charge against Travis James Paul Lukkar, 28, of Hibbing, who allegedly arranged a fentanyl sale that led to the death of Ginae “Gigi” Jo Songer, 36.

Lukkar, according to public records, has four prior felony convictions for possessing or selling controlled substances and is currently serving out a sentence at the Minnesota Correctional Facility in St. Cloud.

According to a criminal complaint:

Songer’s daughter called 911 after finding her unconscious on the floor of their Hibbing residence early Feb. 8. She was taken to a local emergency room and then transferred to St. Luke’s in Duluth, never regaining consciousness and dying the next day.

The Lake Superior Violent Offender Task Force later learned the family had found drug paraphernalia in the apartment, including a container with just under a gram of fentanyl. A medical examiner also confirmed that Songer’s death was the result of fentanyl toxicity.

Investigators reviewed the victim’s phone records, finding a text conversation between Songer and Lukkar starting at 6:20 p.m. Feb. 7. Lukkar asked, “Know anyone who would want straight fetty?” to which Songer replied, “How much tho? I can call ppl.”

The messages go on to show Songer and Lukkar discussing pricing and quantity, with the victim indicating she was relaying the information to another person. Around 9 p.m., Lukkar wrote that he was on his way and the two also had a two-minute phone call.

Songer left the apartment for approximately an hour that night, stating she was going to a friend’s apartment, according to her daughter.

When interviewed by investigators in late February, Lukkar admitted that he had gone to Chisholm that day to get fentanyl and messaged Songer. He stated that he owed money to his supplier and was attempting to sell some heroin and/or fentanyl to cover the debt. However, he asserted that it was one of the dealer’s “cronies” who actually delivered the fentanyl to Songer.

But law enforcement spoke with Songer’s friend and neighbor, who reported that she had received the fentanyl from a man named Travis. The woman said they together snorted some of the substance before Songer took the remainder back to her apartment around 10-11 p.m.

Lukkar, while in jail on other matters, was recorded telling his mother in a phone call that he was going to be charged with Songer’s murder “because I sold her a bag for her neighbor and that’s what she died from.”

“How do they know that you didn’t get it for yourself, and you never brought it to her?” his mother asked. “It’s that simple.”

“I told them I didn’t bring it to her,” Lukkar replied. “I told them the plug (supplier) brought it to her.”

In another recorded phone call, Lukkar was heard asking a different person to delete the contents of his iCloud account, indicating he had “dropped” a quarter-pound of drugs around the Iron Range every other day over the previous two months.

“I’m just more worried because I was f—ing dropping a s— ton of s— right before I got picked up,” he said. “I don’t want them to get all of that s—.”

Investigators eventually obtained Lukkar’s phone location data, confirming he had been at Songer’s apartment building on the night of Feb. 7, one minute after he messaged, “I’m almost there.”

Lukkar has several prior convictions in northern St. Louis County and Itasca County, including third-degree sale of a controlled substance and three instances of fifth-degree possession of a controlled substance. While initially receiving probationary sentences, records show that Lukkar racked up a number of violations and, in recent months, requested the execution of prison sentences.

The longest sentence was for 21 months, and with credit for time served and good behavior, Lukkar would be placed on supervised release in October, according to the Minnesota Department of Corrections.

His first appearance has yet to be scheduled in the murder case. In signing the complaint, Judge Bhupesh Pattni set bail at $200,000; if Lukkar does not post that sum, he presumably will be transferred to the St. Louis County Jail upon his prison release.

Songer was a lifelong resident of the Iron Range and had five combined children with her fiance, according to an obituary. Being a mother, the family wrote, was “her greatest of achievements.”

“(She) was a very caring and loving person to more than just her children,” the obit states. “She watched out for the neighborhood children who didn’t have the right shoes or a jacket. She listened to those who just needed an ear and lended a shoulder and offered a hug. She loved those that were unlovable. She reached those who were unreachable. She was pure with her compliments and loved to give them.”


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