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UPDATE: MOLLY YOUNG’S CASE REMAINS OPEN; ‘CLOSURE’ WAS ‘IN ERROR’

Mike Carr

Charlie Lamont

Posted by on Monday, August 12th, 2013 @ 3:20 pm.

presser duquoin DUQUOIN---The case involving the shooting death of Carbondale woman Molly Young is an open and ongoing investigation, according to the prosecutor handling it. Jackson County prosecutor Mike Carr, in a press conference from Illinois State Police District 13 in DuQuoin, advised a small group of media and family of Molly's this afternoon that the documents issued to Molly's father Larry Young last year, which state point blank that the case was closed, were issued in error. "If I had known that this (the issuance of such a document) was going on, I would not have allowed it," Carr said. "The case is NOT closed."

Mike Carr, reading his press information during the conference

Mike Carr, reading his press information during the conference

He was hard-pressed, however, to actually come out and state for the record that Young's case---wherein she was shot to death in the early morning hours of March 24, 2012, at her ex-boyfriend Richie Minton's apartment in Carbondale---was an "ongoing investigation." Instead, Carr, who was just elected last November and who had spent nearly three decades in the federal prosecutor's office in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, still spent an inordinate amount of time at the press conference, both in a prepared statement (which we'll bring to you in full here in a bit) and in answer to media questions, adhering to the "possibility" that Molly Young's death was a suicide. This is despite the fact that a Jackson County coroner's jury in January, presented with evidence slanting the case TOWARD suicide, nevertheless ruled that her manner of death WASN'T suicide. Instead, the six-person jury selected the option of "undetermined" as manner of death. This speaks volumes, as  "suicide," "homicide" and "undetermined" were the only options they had to choose from. That they did NOT select suicide should immediately discount Mike Carr ever utilizing that word again...yet today, he continued to do so.

Here's the transcript from the statement that Carr had prepped for the conference today. Notice that there are several items that we have highlighted. Those are items that a handful of media took it upon themselves to ask questions about, primarily, WSIL, Carbondale Times, Southern Illinoisan, and Ang asked two pertinent questions from our staff. Interestingly, when Ang asked her first question, a live feed that was going on to another media in the conference dropped out and did not pick back up again, to our understanding. This may have been a total accident/oversight, or it may have been intentional. If it was intentional, this reflects the tenor those in charge of this investigation have had toward Disclosure all along...and causes us to wonder something: we are the only media who has made the connection between local prosecutors and Flip Minton concerning his job analyzing computers for forensic (legal) purposes and continues to mention it at every opportunity. Mike Carr announced today that he'd worked for the federal court system for 29 years. We know from media reports that Flip Minton has also done work for the federal court system for the past four or so years. Did their paths cross? We're going to find out...and when we do, watch what we do with the information.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Over the past couple of weeks there has been extensive media attention surrounding the status of the investigation in the Molly Young case. Miss Young was found dead on March 24, 2012, from a single gunshot wound to her head. She died while at an apartment of a Carbondale Police Department dispatcher who was also her former boyfriend. I first heard about the case last year during my campaign to become state's attorney. By coincidence, I knocked on the door where Miss Young lived before her death. I met and talked for a long time with Miss Young's grandmother, who explained to me some of the things she had heard about the investigation, and her frustration about not knowing what was going on with the investigation. I explained to her that I had been a federal prosecutor for over 29 years, and had not worked with the Carbondale Police department on cases for 15 years. Because most of the people I had worked with had retired, I told her that I thought 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. I took office in December, almost nine months after the death of Miss Young. Within two months of taking office, I, along with two senior trial lawyers in my office reviewed the file to determine if, based upon what would be admissible evidence available to us, a prosecution could be brought. Three investigators from the Illinois State Police made a presentation of the evidence and gave detailed explanations and assessments about questions which were raised by me and my colleagues. I was advised by detective about what steps had been taken in the investigation, what questions could be or had been forensically determined, what evidence was not available and could not be determined and whether the presence or absence of any particular type of forensic evidence could establish or preclude a particular theory about the manner and means of Miss Young's death. Prior to talking with me, the Illinois State Police detectives had already conducted a joint review of the entire file with approximately 20 experienced homicide investigators from throughout Southern Illinois including the metro-east area. After a review of the evidence it was jointly determined that although questions remain, there was insufficient, admissible evidence to establish that Miss Young's death was the result of homicide. There is compelling, though not conclusive, evidence that her death was self-inflicted. It was also determined that there was no forensic or physical evidence to preclude the possibility of a self-inflicted death or to conclusively support the possibility of a homicidal death. Investigators from the Illinois State Police and I then met with Miss Young's family and provided them with a detailed explanation of the evidence and this finding. Prior to meeting with the family, I had been informed by members from the Illinois State Police that they had previously met with some family members and had already explained this evidence. Nonetheless, because of my promise to Miss Young's grandmother, I wanted to explain to the family myself that in determining whether a criminal case existed that I could not ignore admissible evidence available which would show that Miss Young wanted to end her life. Out of respect for Miss Young and her family, I will not recount in detail that evidence, but I will direct anyone who feels as if the investigation or prosecution decisions in this matter have been influenced by corruption, politics or insider favors, to the transcript of the Jackson County coroner's inquest which is a public record. Knowing full well that the public may not have convenient access to that transcript, I am advising the media that it exists, that it is available, and I am leaving it to the media about how and if they choose to publish it. The sworn testimony by Illinois State Police investigators at the coroner's inquest months ago included: 1. 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 Richie; 2. A verbatim reading of a comprehensive journal found in Miss Young's bedroom with entries describing a long history of not wanting to live, not feeling loved and wanting to end her life; 3. 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; 4. 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; 5. 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. Even though I cannot conclusively determine the manner and means of Miss Young's death exclusively by this type of evidence, as a prosecutor, I can and have weighed the likely impact that such evidence would have on my ability to successfully prosecute, or for that matter to even charge, a homicide at this point. I want to emphasize that I am not finding from this evidence that this death was a suicide or that it was not. I just cannot ignore reasonable possibilities or the presumption of innocence. After my meeting with the Young family, Mr. Young made a request to obtain portions of the evidence obtained by the State Police through a Freedom of Information request. Generally a request for information which is part of an ongoing criminal investigation is exempt from disclosure under the act but I did not feel comfortable in claiming this exemption since all of the information I was considering had been collected months before I was in office and no new significant information had become available. So, when asked if I was going to assert that exemption, I declined. As a result, the family of Miss Young was able to receive certain requested information. In processing Mr. Young's request, the Freedom of Information officer with the State Police erroneously set out as his reason for permitting the disclosure of information to Mr. Young that I had closed the case. I was not given an opportunity to review this statement, did not authorize it and it is not accurate. I have no authority to close a state police investigation and did not do so in this case. The case remains open. Finally, I want to point out that a prosecutor must generally refrain from making statements about an investigation. However, because of recent public statements made to the press by Miss Young's father demanding that a prosecution be brought and claiming that the failure to bring a prosecution in this case ignores obvious evidence and is linked to a corrupt law enforcement decision, I have decided that this limited response is warranted. In so doing, I want to emphasize that it is understandable that a father who has lost a daughter would be emotional and he and his family have my sympathy. However, to bring any charge against a citizen in this country, our system of justice requires that the prosecutor be rational and ignore conjecture, frustration, emotion and speculation.Decisions to prosecute must be based upon evidence, not rumors or political pressure. Our system of justice requires proof to convict, beyond a reasonable doubt, based upon admissible evidence. Illinois Supreme Court Rules of Professional Conduct 3.8 prohibits the prosecution of any charge that a prosecutor knows is not supported by probable cause. And, given our system of justice, which allows for but one trial for an offense, there must be sufficient, admissible evidence for the prosecutor to believe that he can convince twelve out of twelve people, beyond a reasonable doubt, that a criminal offense has been committed. These are standards of fairness embodied in the Illinois and United States Constitutions and must be adhered to by prosecutors in any case. Should additional evidence become available which would meet these fundamental standards, I have pledged to the Youngs and sworn to the public that it will be considered.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The best bet, at this point, would be for Carr to call a grand jury. It's apparent that he somehow believes that there was a screwup in evidentiary collection somewhere along the line. He was asked specifically by Carbondale Times' Geoff Ritter (who deserves props for broaching the subject) about Richie Minton "being allowed to wash his hands" before leaving the apartment.

"My understanding is that he did wash his hands," Carr hedged; "not that he was 'allowed' to."

"Do any of us get that latitude (at a crime scene)?" Ritter asked, and Carr reiterated what he said, but moved quickly on to another subject, as he had given a kind of circular answer about whether Minton was ALLOWED to wash his hands versus whether he'd just simply washed his hands...underscoring the ludicrousness of this excuse for why such a thing happened at all. Because if the rest of us had been present at a death with a gunshot involved, which by the time EMTs had assessed things it had become obvious that's what it was, every single person in the premises, not just those in the room, would have been pulled in to a small room for questioning. But not Minton. By the time the scene was being assessed, his parents were present with a lawyer, and no questioning of either Minton nor his roommate Wes Romack had been---nor has ever been---done.

Charlie Lamont

Charlie Lamont

At the end, Molly's uncle, Charlie Lamont, a retired police officer, brought up that there were 32 other tenants in the apartment complex and wondered if they'd all been interviewed. Carr wouldn't answer that question "publicly." Lamont reworded, and asked that if someone had been interviewed and has relative information, would it be considered. Carr said it would. This lends to the possibility that if the Youngs have hired a private investigator, his or her information can be collected---and used-- just as well as if it were a Carbondale police officer. We're hearing that there were other people at that apartment complex who, in the early morning hours of March 24, 2012, saw and heard all sorts of commotion at the Minton/Romack apartment at about the time the death of Molly actually occurred, very early in the morning and not 9:20-something, when it was reported. That alone is suspicious enough to warrant further investigation...but is again something that appears to be being ignored.

We will continue to cover this matter as things develop...the statements Carr made today open up an entire new realm of questions, particularly since now that the investigation is deemed "open," certain things simply cannot be disclosed. We are working on our end of it, and have been asked to appear on another hour of Reality Check with Monica Zukas this Friday. We'll let you know if this will go down...in the meantime, keep checking back.

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Posted by on Aug 12 2013. Filed under Jackson. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

9 Comments for “UPDATE: MOLLY YOUNG’S CASE REMAINS OPEN; ‘CLOSURE’ WAS ‘IN ERROR’”

  1. Brooke Thurau

    Thank you so much for your continuous coverage of Molly Young’s death. I am grateful for your persistence in seeking the truth!

    • You’re welcome! Thank you for reading. We have devoted a significant portion of our time to this case, and we aren’t even selling papers over it, because we have no vendors in Jackson County (and probably won’t, as they don’t like “our type” of real journalism over there. It impinges on their corruption.) So this is a labor of love for us, as we have seen the Youngs agonize over it. We won’t stop until justice is obtained in this case.

  2. Chas131

    Open or ongoing as terms describing an investigation do not necessarily mean active. If it were active, one would expect that something or a series of activities would be investigated up to the present day. But, in being taking pains to say he communicated with the family, S/A Carr may have left the impression that SOMEONE in ISP is staying in regular touch with the family. Or someone from his office staying in regular touch. THIS IS NOT THE CASE.
    The family has had to dig, and dig and dig more for information.

  3. Chas131

    And another thing………..great pains were taken to avoid mentioning the only other person known to be present when Molly was shot. Why ?

    Why weren’t his writings examined ? His text messages ? His computer ?

  4. gernika9

    Maybe it’s easier to prosecute the victim.

    …seems like I’ve heard that before, regarding rape cases.

    • I swear. I said to somebody today, it’s a blue-eyed miracle we didn’t learn that the “cops” in charge of the “investigation” didn’t take Molly’s body in and try to question IT, that’s how screwed up this is…..

      (I know, I know…that’s morbid. But this is RIDICULOUS and calls for outrageous analogies.)

  5. gernika9

    Yesterday’s print edition of Carbondale Times had a couple of bombshell documents…the first one appeared to be an ISP internal doc requesting forensic examination of clothing items from “victim” and “suspect.” It seems evident that the investigator ordering this work consistently referred to the “suspect” and also made some inferences about the “suspect’s” location (standing on the bed, or perhaps standing over the “victim.” This makes me wonder, at what point did ISP subsequently decide that Mr. Minton was no longer a “suspect?” I’m waiting for someont to pry that information loose, especially since several of the tested items were positive for GSR.

    The second doc appeared to be a report by a CPD sergeant describing his trip to the scene of the death, and his first impressions of the scene upon arrival. He seems to be the first police officer on the scene. I found this interesting primarily because he was advised EN ROUTE to the scene by dispatch that the decedent had shot herself and that a pistol was to be found under her body. Since this information was not mentioned in the recorded 911 call we’ve all heard by now, one presumes that it was transmitted to dispatch from the scene by some other (backdoor) means.

    Now, I’m also curious about that pistol, which I’ve read somewhere is a Brazilian clone of the 1911A1 Colt “Government Model.” Aside from the obvious incongruity of its being free of GSR and having no identifiable fingerprints on it, which can only be explained by its not being the fatal weapon or by someone having tampered with the evidence…another thought also comes to mind.

    The 1911 operating system is such that one may encounter the pistol in several different “Conditions” or stages of readiness to fire. A 1911 pistol that has just been fired, then dropped on the floor, will be in Condition Zero…i.e., magazine in place, live round in chamber, hammer cocked, thumb safety OFF. Anyone trained on these pistols would automatically engage the thumb safety as soon as they were done shooting…and particularly, before trying to wipe the pistol down. That’s Condition One, and I can’t even imagine myself trying to wipe it in that Condition.

    I probably don’t have to draw a more detailed picture than that before I ask the next question: when the ISP or CPD investigators first picked the pistol up from the floor, I’m assuming they would be gun-savvy enough to want to discern the Condition immediately. I’d also think that the investigator would note the condition for the record. My question is simply, what was the Condition? If the investigators found Condition Zero, that fits my scenario (as well as others.) But if they found the pistol in Condition One, that could only be consistent with an “evidence tampering” scenario which is already suggested by the absence of GSR or fingerprints on the pistol.

    I’d sure like to see THAT report, and I sure hope someone is looking for it.

    • Yeah we’ve had those for a few weeks…we’re following through on one aspect of them. We’ll not say more right now so as not to give ISP a heads-up…they have a tendency to find a way to thwart us when we signal our intent.

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