SPRINGFIELD - Twelve days after cocaine killed St. Clair County judge Joe Christ, Gov. Pat Quinn bestowed an appointment on the Pike County prosecutor who had the authority to investigate the fatal event.
The prosecutor, former state’s attorney Carrie Boyd, did not investigate.
Her appointment to the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority on March 22, 2013, now wears a different aspect than it did at the time.
She resigned as state’s attorney on June 2, two weeks after charging sheriff Paul Petty with felony misconduct.
Petty’s investigation of Christ’s death led to arrests, guilty pleas and prison time for former St. Clair County judge Michael Cook and two drug dealers.
When Boyd announced the charges against Petty she stirred suspicion that she filed them to damage him.
Boyd has not returned phone calls seeking comment.
Cook found Christ’s body on March 10, 2013. They had spent the night in a hunting lodge that belonged to Cook’s father, Belleville lawyer Bruce Cook.
Petty, as sheriff and coroner, ordered an autopsy the next day.
Pathologist Amanda Youmans found a white powder substance in a container, and it field tested positive for cocaine. A urine drug screen produced a similar result.
On March 22, Quinn appointed Boyd to the Criminal Justice Information Authority.
The Authority distributes grants and awards, about $82 million last year.
Boyd filled a slot representing all state’s attorneys outside Cook County.
The Cook County state’s attorney and 13 other officials hold automatic seats.
Governors appoint five board members to represent groups of office holders, as Boyd did, and they appoint six public representatives.
Vacancies on the Authority board seldom qualify as a governor’s priority.
Quinn hadn’t appointed anyone in 16 months before Boyd, and he has appointed one in 15 months since Boyd.
He could appoint three today, to fill slots that have remained vacant for five months, 17 months, and four years.
Boyd’s slot had remained empty since the previous December.
Quinn picked a state’s attorney with little experience. She had held the position three months in a county with about 16,000 residents.
The Authority website emphasizes other attributes.
“Carrie Boyd was the first female state’s attorney in the history of Pike County,” it says.
It identifies her as representative for the family violence coordinating council of the 8th Judicial Circuit and chair of Pike County’s sexual assault awareness team.
It states that she served as advisor to Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon’s firearms working group and testified on flexible and fair revisions to gun laws.
It calls her a tireless advocate in the war on methamphetamine in rural communities.
Petty, in the meantime, persisted in his investigation.
Eventually, he gave his case file to a prosecutor, but not Boyd.
He sent it 80 miles south, to U.S. Attorney Stephen Wigginton in Fairview Heights.
Wigginton took charge because the drug dealing behind Christ’s death violated federal laws and it happened in the southern district of Illinois.
Wigginton charged Cook with possessing heroin and using it while possessing firearms.
Cook pleaded guilty and currently serves the first month of a two year sentence.
His supplier, Sean McGilvery, pleaded guilty of distribution and accepted 10 years.
Christ’s cocaine supplier, former county probation officer James Fogarty, pleaded guilty of distribution and accepted five years.
Fogarty successfully argued that the cocaine he supplied to Christ did not kill him, and the government could not enhance his sentence on that account.
No one has determined who supplied the fatal dose.
The guilty pleas dropped a curtain on the drama, but Boyd lifted it when she charged Petty with misconduct.
She alleged he prematurely allowed a mortician to embalm the body of a woman who died of a drug overdose.
Petty has declined to comment, referring questions to his attorney. However, after charges were filed against him, he told a Pittsfield reporter that toxicology testing had been conducted on the woman.
The death in question occurred in 2012, prior to her election.
The charge remains pending before Adams County Associate Judge Chet Vahle, who must appoint a special prosecutor.
The Pike County board plan to meet June 12, to receive Boyd’s resignation.