A federal judge has ruled that one of the individuals convicted of killing three people in Addison in 1995 did not have his rights violated by the DuPage County prosecution team.
Fedell Caffey was convicted of killing Debra Evans and two of her children. He was also convicted of cutting her unborn child from her womb, an incident in which the baby actually survived.
Caffey maintains his constitutional rights were violated by prosecutors because the prosecution withheld that a witness in the case claimed to have knowledge of drug use by at least one prosecutor and had threatened to reveal that information if she was arrested or charged with the murders.
The prosecutor in question, Jeffrey Kendall, denied the specific allegations during testimony but claimed privilege against self-incrimination when asked in federal court about general allegations of drug use during that time period.
In his decision against Caffey, Judge Matthew Kennelly found some of the allegations to be credible, stating that "in context" Kendall's "claim of privilege was a virtual admission."
"It is appropriate to draw an inference adverse to Kendall, specifically that he used illegal controlled substances during the relevant period," Kennelly wrote in his decision.
NBC 5 had uncovered two witnesses over the past 12 years who reported knowledge of the alleged drug use.
Dwight Pruitt, a former drug dealer, said in 2004 that he witnessed a drug purchase made by Kendall. Pruitt testified in the federal hearing that he observed what appeared to be a drug deal between an acquaintance and Kendall.
Reviewing Pruitt's testimony, Judge Kennelly wrote:
"Although Pruitt's story about the drug deals is somewhat short on details and his identification of Kendall is based on second-hand information, the court finds it largely credible."
The judge also found Cara Walker credible, who first told NBC 5 in 2001 that one of the suspects in the case, Vikki Iacullo, claimed to have sold drugs to DuPage County prosecutors.
"Caffey has proven by a preponderance of the evidence that prior to his trial, Cara Walker told law enforcement officers involved with the murder investigation that Vikki Iacullo claimed to have knowledge regarding the murders and said that if arrested or charged she would reveal that she had knowledge of illegal drug use by DuPage prosecutors, including Kendall, one of the prosecutors in Caffey's case," Kennelly wrote.
Kendall did not return NBC 5 requests for comment. But during his testimony, Kendall denied ever selling or purchasing drugs from Iacullo or Pruitt.
The judge said he found no evidence that any other DuPage prosecutors were involved with drug use. In the end, he said Caffey did not prove his constitutional rights were violated, finding that Caffey failed to establish prosecutors engaged in any bad faith conduct related to charges against Iacullo or keeping her from testifying.