MASSIVE COP GRID WAS SEARCH FOR MISSING MURDER WEAPONPosted by Jack Howser on Wednesday, August 15th, 2012 @ 9:04 pm.
However, with a little bit of reading between the lines of what passes for a local newspaper, as well as a keen understanding of what’s going on in the county’s single murder case, we were able to pin at least a couple of public officials down on just what was taking place early yesterday morning and continuing on into late morning in the vicinity of properties off the highway.
Our official sources indicate that the gathering of Illinois State Police and Lawrence County sheriff’s department had to do with “new leads” in the March murder of 78-year-old Bob Westall in Lawrenceville.
Westall was murdered in his sister’s apartment behind United Methodist Village some time in the overnight hours of March 24-25, stabbed and with his throat cut. It was, according to those who saw it, a particularly violent and bloody scene.
However, as we knew all along but had confirmed last Friday, there is no murder weapon.
And that, despite what the state may want everyone to think, poses quite a problem for the prosecution when it comes to actually getting through a trial and convincing a jury that Tyler McQueen, 21, was the one who killed Westall. Talking McQueen into the crime, according to the prosecution, is Westall’s niece, Helen Marie Westall, 47. She is charged with offering him money and a ratty old car if he would do the deed; he is charged with doing it. That’s the state’s case, and they’re sticking to it.
Our reporter Jade produced a newsblast last Friday highlighting aspects of one of the final pretrial conferences, as McQueen is under a speedy trial demand (120 days, as he’s being held on an incredibly high bond so is still detained at the county jail). One of these aspects is the fact that there is NOTHING tying McQueen to the crime except the word of Helen Marie, who, despite being declared fit to stand trial, is a nutcase. According to those who know her well, Ms. Westall obviously had a functioning personality on the day she was examined for fitness; she has three she works with on a regular basis.
However, even with Helen Marie being declared “fit,” that doesn’t necessarily mean her word is good. But that’s all the authorities have to go on. Because there hasn’t been found at the crime scene anything linking McQueen to Westall: no hairs, no blood, no DNA, nothing. And there wasn’t found on McQueen any evidence linking him to the murder scene: no blood, no hairs, nothing. And without a murder weapon, no one can even definitively say how Westall actually died. Compound that with the fact that John Heidingsfelder, regional pathologist who did the medical examination/pathology on Westall’s body, has pulled another one of his disappearing acts and is nowhere to be found…and Lisa Wade (propped up in this instance by the appellate prosecutor’s office, who sent Mike Vujovich to “assist” her) is having distinct problems with the fact that a major murder trial is going to start on August 27, a week from Monday.
Hence the contingent of cops who were scanning the area yesterday. Because SOMEHOW, they came to be under the impression that there may have been a murder weapon disposed of in the vicinity that was being searched, disposed way back “five months ago” (as the local rag stated; gotta do some reading between the lines with this).
Incidentally, the dumpster? Had nothing to do with the search. There was work being done on the concrete upon which that particular dumpster was sitting, and the concrete pourer, aware of the litigious nature of local people, judiciously put up some yellow tape around the dumpster so that if someone injured themselves at the site, the contractor/dumpster owner would have less liability if sued. The tape had been around the dumpster for three weeks. But few people noticed it…until the entire cadre of cops were sweeping the area.
Why that area? We can only speculate. Likely, someone, between last Friday and yesterday morning, had “interviewed” Helen again, asking her if there was any indication at all of where that pesky murder weapon could have gone. She likely pointed out that area (for whatever reason occurred to her in her foggy head) and that’s where they went. Which isn’t so strange if we’re talking about Helen Marie being the one who wielded the weapon, as she, if leaving Lawrenceville, would have taken that route to go home, since she’s from Bridgeport.
But Tyler wouldn’t have; not necessarily. Since he lived in Mt. Carmel.
And so this is leading us to one question, which is really standing out in our minds: Is Helen getting Tyler confused with someone else? Because there was one other person out running around at that time of night….with blood all over himself, something people observed with their own eyes, someone who has given many inconsistent stories ever since this whole thing started, and has flat-out lied to several people about each of these stories. We know. We’re among those he lied to, and we caught him in the lie.
Why the state police aren’t conducting an investigation into this guy is absolutely beyond us. But the distinct likelihood is that they won’t…because Wade is convinced that she has her guy, and the prosecution will NEVER go investigating another angle when they’ve got a guy charged. The defense COULD, but the McQueens don’t have the kind of money they need to ensure that a thorough investigation can be conducted into another possible suspect. So the best they can do is put on a good defense; and that’s what they’re doing. Which is significantly aided by no DNA evidence connecting McQueen to the crime….no murder weapon…and no forensic pathology guy to give specifics. This could be Brandon Jenkins all over again.
And we’re covering it. So be checking the site beginning Monday, August 27….the new issue will be on the stands beginning that day, and we’ll have the follow up to the trial in the subsequent paper, just three weeks from that date, as we usually do this time of year….if you hurry and subscribe, you’ll get in on the 13 for the price of 12 offer, and maybe more, as we’re planning special editions for October (election) and possibly December as well. Just because we love you, you know.
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