FOX Files Investigates: St. Clair County Judges and Drugs

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ST. CLAIR COUNTY, IL (KTVI)-- As a Mother seeks justice for her daughter, she looks to a legal system accused of corruption.  She pleaded with a Judge to protect her daughter, only to find that Judge named in a cocaine conspiracy.  She watched her daughter wither away on heroin.  Investigative reporter Chris Hayes reveals the frightening connections.

On one side, we'll tell you about the drug suspects.   The Feds accuse the suspects of bringing tens of thousands of dollars of heroin down from Chicago.  On the other side, we'll reveal the Court officers sworn to protect us from these drugs.  Instead, we'll show you a tie to one of the suspects.

In the middle?  One dead Judge and two dead women.

Mother Chris Keel described the day her daughter died.  She said a Deputy drove up and "...he just looked at me.  He`s like, does your daughter have a cross on her ankle? I was like, yeah.  He hands me a piece of paper and says, 'here, you need to get ahold of the St. Clair County Coroner`s office.'"  She broke down after she said that.  Keel looked over at pictures of her 20-year-old daughter Jennifer as she cried.  She can't get the picture out of her mind, of the home in which her daughter died.

Keel said, "I hate that house."

20 Kassing Drive, in Fairview Heights.  It's now boarded up by the Feds.  It`s where mother and son, Deborah Perkins and Douglas Oliver lived.  Federal agents say Perkins and Oliver made frequent trips to Chicago to bring down heroin. A criminal complaint, obtained by Fox 2, also accuses Sean McGilvery for conspiring in the drug pipeline.  Before the crack down, two women reportedly died in the Fairview Height's house, 20-year-old Jennifer Herling and 30-year-old Jessie Williams.  Jennifer`s Mom was trying desperately to get her daughter off heroin.  She thought she had that chance when her daughter got into trouble and stood before Judge Michael Cook.

Keel said, "I begged him to put Jen in rehab."  She asked for jail time, anything.  Keel added, "She told me that he said she`d never do it again."
Hayes followed up, "He said that?"
Keel, "Yeah. And he let her go on probation."

Keel never dreamed of the connections Judge Michael Cook might have with the drug world.  It`s now known that Cook and drug suspect McGilvery are acquaintances.  It was McGilvery`s Belleville house where the Feds reportedly arrested Cook with drugs on him.

Even scarier to Keel, Judge Cook was presiding over a criminal case in which Perkins and Oliver are accused of concealing one of  the deaths.  Looking back at these connections, Keel can`t help but wonder, "If he would`ve been in the right state of mind, my kid would probably still be here.  She probably would`ve gotten help."

Jennifer's Grandmother Jackie, even wrote a letter to Judge Cook, this past March, detailing information about suspects Oliver and Perkins.  Since then, Cook's been arrested and removed from that case.

The Keels will not give up justice for Jen.  Chris Keel said, "If it`s my last breath, I will."

Former Judge Cook is now in rehab in Minnesota.  Former Judge Joe Christ died of a cocaine overdose and former probation officer James Fogarty is under house arrest, accused of supplying cocaine to both judges.  The Feds say this is just the beginning of this elaborate web of connections.

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