Action on Clark Murder
I don’t know how I missed Tuesday’s Southern Illinoisan article about the botched retrial against mob action murder suspect Trevis Thompson in a 2003 shooting case. It looks like there is a dispute about who’s to blame for the dismissal in the case:
The shooting victim, Brad DeDecker, says the Jackson County State’s Attorney’s office dropped the ball. But prosecutors contend DeDecker declined to testify, which DeDecker angrily denies.
The Southern reported a couple of weeks ago that the State’s Attorney dropped the case because the victim refused to testify. At the time, I wondered why a shooting victim would refuse to testify. Intimidation was the only reason I could think of. DeDecker denies refusing to testify, but the Southern reports intimidation likely took place:
The state’s attorney’s office said one of the reasons DeDecker didn’t want to testify at a new trial was because he was threatened. DeDecker vehemently disagreed.
DeDecker says somebody on Thompson’s behalf made threats toward him during the first trial, but DeDecker says he brushed it off.
Without police reports or documentation in the state’s attorney’s office, those alleged threats against a witness are unsubstantiated.
There is no way to know whether the witness refused to testify or the State’s Attorney declined to prosecute for other reasons, but both sides agree the witness was threatened. And a threat from this suspect or his friends would be credible. In addition to the 2003 shooting, Thompson was charged with unlawful restraint and unlawful battery in the 2007 incident that ultimately led to the murder of Benjamin Slaughter.
Of course, there is no reason to believe there won’t be threats against witnesses in the current case. I hope police are protecting the witnesses. Video evidence would be even better. The Carbondaze Gazette has four posts with photos of the aftermath of the fight (one, two, three, four). Maybe a witness recorded video on a phone, or maybe there are surveillance cameras in the area that captured evidence. Let’s hope.
Prosecution is moving ahead for one of the suspects in the November 20, 2010 murder. Patrick A. Green was ordered to stand trial in a preliminary hearing on Tuesday. Thompson’s preliminary hearing was postponed until December 16.
Comments are welcome.