Carr: Evidence not sufficient in Young case

Submitted by Carbondale Times on

Geoffrey Ritter
Weekend Times

CARBONDALE — The investigation into the 2012 death of Molly Young is now over, according to the Illinois State Police, and there will be no forthcoming criminal charges.

Responding to a Freedom of Information Act request, ISP Lt. Steve Lyddon said requested information regarding the investigation into Young’s death previously had been denied but now would be granted due to the changed status of the case.

“The State’s Attorney from Jackson County has now determined that no charges will be filed and the case is closed,” Lyddon wrote.

Jackson County State’s Attorney Michael Carr clarified that in a statement to the Times this week.

“I have reviewed the evidence in the Molly Young case and have consulted over the past months with the family of Molly Young, the investigators from the Illinois State Police and the lawyers in my office,” Carr said. “In deciding whether to bring a criminal charge, my role as State’s Attorney is to determine whether there is sufficient admissible evidence to convince 12 out of 12 people, beyond a reasonable doubt, that a criminal offense has been committed.

“I do not close investigations. The admissible evidence available to me through the State Police investigation was publicly disclosed, for the most part, through sworn testimony by State Police officers at the coroner’s inquest months ago. Based upon my review of the evidence at this point, the investigation presented to me has not resulted in sufficient evidence to support a criminal prosecution. I have expressed to both the Illinois State Police and to the family of Molly Young previously that should additional evidence become available, I will consider it.”

The case has drawn a high profile since Young, then 21, was found dead in March 2012 from a bullet wound to her head in the bedroom of her on-and-off boyfriend, Richie Minton.

Minton, a dispatcher for the Carbondale Police Department at the time of the incident and at present, told first responders that morning that he slept through the gunshot. Minton and his roommate first reported Young’s death several hours later in a 911 call initially identifying the death as the result of an overdose.

Investigators were unable to identify any fingerprints on the .45-caliber pistol belonging to Minton that fired the shot, and they found no signs of gunshot residue on the hands of Minton or Young. ISP records say that Carbondale Police, the first responders to the scene, allowed Minton to change his clothes and wash his hands before going to the police department for questioning. Police that morning also found a pair of fresh scratches on Minton’s back, which he said he must have gotten while administering CPR to Young.

In January, a coroner’s jury heard evidence from ISP, as well as a detailed account of Young’s journals and an undated suicide letter. Investigators also discussed a series of text messages sent from Young’s phone in the hours preceding her death detailing attempts to overdose on pills, including one indicating she planned to shoot herself in the head. Toxicology showed no abnormal levels of drugs in her system, and the jury ultimately ruled the nature of her death undetermined due to a lack of evidence.

Minton’s attorney and his mother and father, a longtime employee of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, arrived at the police station that morning before ISP investigators. Since that morning, Minton has declined to be interviewed by ISP investigators, and he also has declined to comment following past requests by the Times. However, in a public Facebook post last month, he addressed growing questions surrounding the circumstances of Young’s death.

“I keep from defending myself in the hope that she gets even a moment of peace in her rest,” Minton wrote. “One side is dead set on her being remembered as a victim of murder and will do anything to put themselves in the public eye because of it. The other side wants her remembered for who she was and the memories she left. I don’t care what people think of me. I care about what they think of her. The people she hated the most are the ones begging for people’s sympathy.”

In recent weeks, a Facebook group called “Justice For Molly” has grown to include almost 13,000 members, many of them joining on the heels of two radio programs broadcast on the AM radio station WGGH and news reports regarding Minton’s hand washing and scratches. The closed group allows members to add their Facebook friends.

Young’s father, Larry Young, says he remains convinced his daughter’s death was not the result of suicide, and the group first organized by his family last year is now orchestrating a distribution of yard signs, bracelets, T-shirts and other items aimed at raising awareness of Young’s story. Members also are planning protests and billboard displays and are reaching out to national media outlets.

Larry Young says he will continue to fight for answers he says his family never received following his daughter’s death.

“I am not seeking justice because I want to,” Young said. “I am seeking justice because I have to. Molly won’t rest in peace until her family and friends rest in peace. Injustice to one is injustice to all.”