Jackson County State's Attorney Michael Carr Monday stood alongside fellow prosecutors and seasoned state police investigators to tell the grandmother of Carbondale gunshot victim Molly Young that no evidence has surfaced to warrant charges, a special prosecutor or a new investigation.
Carr held a 2 p.m. press conference at the Illinois State Police District 13 command in Du Quoin.
A very empathetic Carr, who served 29 years as a federal prosecutor before his election last November to state's attorney, said after hearing about the case he went to the apartment where Molly Young had lived.
There, he talked with her grandmother and made a promise to her that he would review the entire body of the case. "While I did not promise her a particular result, I did promise her that I would make it my priority to impartially review the facts and circumstances of the case and to get back with her family with my observations as soon as I could. I have done this."
Molly Young died March 24, 2012 from a single gunshot wound to the head in the Carbondale apartment of an ex-boyfriend who was a radio dispatcher for the Carbondale Police Department.
He said that although there are questions, he believes that there is nothing new that contradicts the finding of suicide that came out of a coroner's inquest.
While it may not be the answer the family wants, Carr was speaking from impartiality, owing nothing to the Carbondale Police Department while respecting the findings of everyone including the lead investigators of the Illinois State Police.
From the beginning, the media was skeptical of the investigation and evidence handling because of the boyfriend's relationship with the department.
There were questions of gunshot residue, the body being moved in the apartment and an investigator washing or not washing his hands. And, maybe washing your hands is sometimes no more or less than just washing your hands.
Carr said the strongest case for the suicide finding comes from Molly herself. Carr said the sworn testimony by Illinois State Police investigators at the coroner's inquest months ago included:
• A verbatim reading of a suicide note, written in Miss Young's handwriting, with individual notes to various family members and friends. This note, found by the police on the floor in Miss Young's room at her grandmother's house the day Miss Young died, also had a section addressed to Ritchie Minton (her boyfriend).
• A verbatim reading of a comprehensive journal found in Miss Young's bedroom with entries describing a long history of wanting to live, not feeling loved and wanting to end her life.
• The disclosure of evidence found on Miss Young's computer, also located at her grandmother's residence, showing that multiple websites had been visited the day before her death related to suicide.
• Numerous text messages from Miss Young's phone, also read into the record at the coroner's inquest, explaining, days before her death, an unsuccessful attempt to overdose and her disappointment that her attempt to take her life was unsuccessful.
• Numerous text messages from Miss Young's phone on the night of her death expressing her desire to kill herself and a text message on her phone explaining why she was taking her life.
He said that while these things are not conclusive, there is nothing stronger to the contrary that warrants prosecution.
He said some information about the case had been prematurely disclosed to the family by state police under an erroneous belief Carr closed the case. Carr said the officer erred and that he has no authority to close a state police investigation. "The case remains open."
He said reports that the prosecution ignored obvious evidence linked to a corrupt law enforcement decision is untrue and that a prosecutor must "be rational and ignore conjecture, frustration, emotion and speculation. Decisions to prosecute must be based upon evidence, not rumor or political pressure."
Carr was asked by a family member that if any of the other 32 tenants of the apartment had compelling testimony contrary to the body of evidence, would he listen it. He said certainly.
At Carr's side during the press conference were assistant prosecutors Casey Bloodworth and Mark Hamrock as well as Illinois State Police Zone 7 commander Capt. Steven Shields and Zone 4 commander Major Scott Rice.