Boyd found no fault with Petty's investigation last year

By The Madison County Record | Jun 18, 2014

PITTSFIELD - Eleven months before former Pike County state’s attorney Carrie Boyd filed felony misconduct charges against sheriff and coroner Paul Petty for letting a mortician embalm a body, she found no fault in his investigation.

In certifying that she complied with discovery requests on June 19, 2013, Boyd wrote, “There was no coroner’s inquest in this case as there was no dispute as to the cause of death as determined by the examining pathologist and coroner.”

This May 16, she charged that Petty failed to perform a mandatory duty when he authorized embalming of Shanda Lopez, in 2012.

On May 30, she reduced a charge against the suspect in Lopez’s death, John Edgar, from drug induced homicide to involuntary manslaughter.

Instead of seeking six to 30 years under the original charge, Boyd agreed that Edgar would serve no more time behind bars than the 353 days he had already served.

Then she quit her job.

Her charge against Petty stirred suspicion that she filed them to damage him for leading an investigation that embarrassed St. Clair County.

Last year Petty attributed the death of St. Clair County judge Joe Christ to cocaine, and he obtained a confession of drug use from former judge Michael Cook.

Cook now serves a two year sentence in federal prison for possessing heroin and using it while possessing firearms.

Boyd and Petty won elections on the same ticket, Democrat, but by different routes.

Voters elected Petty 16 years ago, on local popularity that began with football.

Boyd ran for office two years ago, after she and husband Ryan Culton left Champaign.

She told voters that since she started at University of Illinois law school, her focus was to return to Pike County and serve the public.

Public records show Boyd and Culton left Champaign under economic pressure.

In 2011, after Culton bought a home in Pittsfield, he filed a bankruptcy petition showing liabilities of $488,196 and assets of $255,552.

It showed he made about $62,000 from an engineering firm, and she averaged $3,297 the previous six months as a self employed attorney.

She no longer worked at a Champaign firm where online directories still place her.

“Spouse’s income fluctuates,” the petition stated.

The petition showed student loan obligations of $132,004, and a $25,000 debt to the Internal Revenue Service.

In March 2012, Boyd won the primary and Culton gained discharge from bankruptcy.

The state labor department then hired Culton to lead the office that inspects carnival and amusement rides, making 50 percent more than what he made in private employment.

Boyd won the November election.

On March 10, 2013, Christ died in Michael Cook’s hunting lodge.

Twelve days later, Gov. Pat Quinn appointed Boyd to the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority.

Boyd took no action in regards to Christ’s death.

Petty’s file wound up 80 miles south, at the office of U.S. Attorney Stephen Wigginton in Fairview Heights.

Wigginton and Cook agreed on an 18 month sentence, but District Judge Joe McDade of Peoria rejected the agreement in March and imposed 24 months.

The case grabbed headlines again when Boyd charged Petty and quit.

The Pike County board accepted her resignation on June 12, and appointed appellate prosecutor Matt Goetten to replace her.

Boyd’s charge against Petty still stands, but Goetten won’t pursue it. Adams County associate judge Chet Vahle plans to appoint a special prosecutor.

Edgar’s plea agreement awaits approval of Circuit Judge Diane Lagoski, who plans a hearing June 26.

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