Madison - St. Clair Record

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Former state’s attorney hired at IDOT; Boyd had bogus charges against sheriff who investigated Michael Cook

By Record News | Aug 29, 2016

SPRINGFIELD – Former Pike County state’s attorney Carrie Boyd, who brought a bogus felony charge against a sheriff who investigated former St. Clair County judge Michael Cook, has found a job at the Illinois Department of Transportation.

State payroll records show that in July, Boyd took a position requiring at least a paralegal certificate at an annual salary of $56,640.


She made more than twice that much in Pike County as state’s attorney.

Boyd ran for office on the Democrat ticket in 2012, as a Pittsfield high school graduate returning to town after practicing law in Champaign.

Before running for office, her husband Ryan Culton had petitioned for bankruptcy protection after a real estate firm sued him and Boyd in Champaign County circuit court for $13,135.

Culton’s petition in November 2011 identified him as an engineer earning about $62,000, and Boyd as a self employed attorney with fluctuating income.

Culton listed assets of $255,552, and liabilities of $488,196, with student loans accounting for more than a fourth of the liabilities.

Their finances began to recover in April 2012, when the state labor department hired Culton to supervise inspectors of amusement rides at a salary of $94,049.

While he resolved his bankruptcy, she ran for state’s attorney.

At a campaign event, when someone waved a Champaign County docket sheet and asked her about it, she said the case was dismissed.

She won a three-way primary race and ran unopposed in the general election.

Three months into her administration, on March 10, 2013, in a hunting lodge that Michael Cook’s family owned near Pleasant Hill, Cook found St. Clair County associate judge Joe Christ dead.

Sheriff Paul Petty took the body to an autopsy, where a “one hitter” vial for snorting cocaine dropped to the floor.

He sent it to state police laboratory technicians, who found more genetic material on the vial from Cook than from Christ.

Their report listed Christ as victim of negligent homicide and Cook as suspect.

Cook confessed to Petty that he used heroin.

Petty, who had worked on criminal cases with Boyd for about three months, said he doubted that she could handle this one.

He sent it south, to U. S. attorney Stephen Wigginton in Fairview Heights.

In May 2013, agents arrested Cook and his heroin dealer, Sean McGilvery.

They also arrested probation officer James Fogarty as Christ’s cocaine dealer.  

Fogarty admitted he provided cocaine to Christ, but he successfully pleaded that he didn’t provide the cocaine that killed him.

Wigginton filed misdemeanor charges against Cook for possessing heroin and using it while possessing firearms.

All Southern District judges disqualified themselves from Cook’s case, and Central District Senior Judge Joe McDade of Peoria took charge.

Cook and Wigginton negotiated a plea agreement at 18 months, but McDade rejected Cook’s guilty plea in February 2014.

He offered Cook a chance to withdraw the plea, and Cook didn’t withdraw it.

On March 28, 2014, McDade imposed a sentence of 24 months.

On May 16, 2014, Boyd charged Petty with felony misconduct in office.

She claimed he failed to have blood drawn from a heroin victim before embalming.

Boyd, who had ignored news reporters inquiring about Christ’s death, called the Belleville News-Democrat with news of her charge against Petty.

Petty retained attorney Richard Frazier of Springfield, who moved to dismiss the charge.

“The information here fails to demonstrate how the defendant failed to execute a mandatory duty and also fails to demonstrate how this alleged conduct constitutes an offense,” Frazier wrote.

He asked for a special prosecutor and got appellate prosecutor Edwin Parkinson, who decided right away to drop the charge.

At a hearing he said, “We all agree that this is not a charge we can go forward with because the sheriff in his capacity as coroner didn’t do anything criminal.”

Adams County associate judge Chet Vahle dismissed the charge to the tune of cheering in the court.

Petty later told a reporter he was very pleased.

“At the same time I’m still living in a got-world where it’s like, you got me good,” he said.

“I’m still trying to figure that aspect out.”

Boyd resigned by voice mail in June 2014, having served less than half of her four-year term, and moved out of town.

She popped up again this July, at the transportation department.

The department invited applications a year ago for a rules manager, the position she now holds, with a monthly salary from $4,695 to $8,700.

According to the invitation, a rules manager ensures that department policies comply with the Illinois Administrative Procedure Act.

The department hired Boyd at the low end of the salary range.

Illinois taxpayers currently provide Boyd and Culton with $12,315 a month in salaries, an annual rate of $147,780.

Cook and Fogarty served their time. McGilvery has a year to go.

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Organizations in this Story

Champaign County Illinois Department of Transportation Pike County