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Murder charges dismissed in Maquon decomposed body case

A brown storage unit next to a brick building in Maquon, Illinois.
Jane Carlson
Tri States Public Radio
The decomposed body was found in the storage unit on Oct. 7 after a report of a suspicious odor.

A judge granted a motion to dismiss murder charges against a Maquon woman accused of fatally poisoning the village’s former police chief with eye drops over concerns the charges violate her constitutional right to a speedy trial.

Marcy L. Oglesby, 50, was initially charged with concealment of a death after a decomposed body was discovered on Oct. 7, 2022, in a Maquon storage unit.

Under Illinois’ speedy trial law, there must be a trial for defendants in custody within 120 days. Oglesby has not posted bond and remains in custody at the Knox County jail.

On Feb. 6, the state filed amended charges of murder, attempted murder, aggravated battery by administering a toxic substance, and concealing a homicidal death.

Public defender David Hansen told the court he believes Oglesby’s 120 days had already expired when the amended charges were filed.

He argued the state had sufficient evidence to secure a conviction on murder charges well before they were filed.

“At the very least, they knew of the possibility of such a charge,” Hansen said.

Ninth Circuit Judge Andrew Doyle granted the defense’s motion to dismiss the charges Thursday in Knox County circuit court, after hearing testimony from law enforcement and arguments from the state and the defense.

Doyle said the state had a “great deal of circumstantial evidence” early on.

Knox County State's Attorney Jeremy Karlin said his office "respectfully disagrees with Judge Doyle’s interpretation of Illinois law and his decision."

Karlin said the office plans to file an immediate appeal of his ruling to the Fourth District Appellate Court in Springfield.

Detectives from the Knox County Sheriff’s Office testified before the ruling about the investigation, including search warrants that were executed at the storage unit and Oglesby’s residence.

Oglesby told investigators it was former police chief Rick Young’s body in the box, though DNA analysis is not yet complete, due to multiple complications and delays.

“Circumstantially, it is Richard Young, but scientifically, that hasn’t been proven,” said Assistant State’s Attorney Ashley Worby.

There were also conflicting statements early on in the investigation, according to testimony.

Oglesby told investigators that Young had died after breaking his neck.

But a woman who lived with Oglesby and Young eventually told investigators that Oglesby had killed Young by putting eye drops in his food and drink.

Worby argued there was no evidence to corroborate the cause of death when the body was discovered on Oct. 7.

Detectives said the body was mummified and a cause of death was not readily apparent.

Hansen noted that preliminary autopsy results available on Oct. 10 indicated the body had no fractures before death.

Detective Jeremy Moore testified the toxicology report came back on Dec. 29, indicating the presence of Tetrahydrozoline, a drug used in over-the-counter eye drops.

Then another search warrant was executed at the residence, where officers found packaging and receipts for eye drops.

Worby said she was in close contact with investigators the entire time.

“We did try to act as quickly as possible,” she said.

Oglesby still faces the concealment of a death charge, as well as forgery and FOID violation charges.

A preliminary hearing is set for April 3.

Tri States Public Radio produced this story.  TSPR relies on financial support from our readers and listeners in order to provide coverage of the issues that matter to west central Illinois, southeast Iowa, and northeast Missouri. As someone who values the content created by TSPR's news department please consider making a financial contribution.

Jane Carlson is TSPR's regional reporter.