Judge Blocks Release of Documents in Decades-Old Valerie Percy Murder Investigation

A Cook County judge on Tuesday has blocked a request for Kenilworth police to release thousands of pages in investigative files from the 50-year-old murder of Valerie Percy. 

Judge Anna Helen Democopoulos said the release of the roughly 20,000 pages of documents would jeopardize the "active and ongoing investigation." She said affidavits provided show a "detailed and fact-driven account of recent investigative activities."

Some documents, however, including Cook County Medical Examiner files with redactions and without exhibits, will be released. 

Kenilworth police insist the case is a very active and open investigation despite the six decades since Percy, the daughter of millionaire businessman Charles Percy, was stabbed and bludgeoned to death in the family’s Kenilworth mansion. Less than two months later, Percy was elected to his first term in the United States Senate.

New York attorney John Kelly sued Kenilworth for release of the investigative files from the September 1966 case. But Kenilworth fought the release of those files, arguing that any such release would compromise their work.

Two months ago a judge ordered the release of a 12-page memorandum outlining thousands of pages of secret evidence from the case. But when it arrived in inboxes today, multiple pages of the document were totally blacked out.

“In my professional opinion, disclosure of this information would materially jeopardize our ongoing investigation into Ms. Percy’s murder,” Kenilworth Police Chief David Miller wrote at the time. “We have relied upon the confidential nature of our investigation file to pursue several leads, discount others, and continue our investigation into this brutal murder.”

But Kelly’s Chicago attorney Matt Topic argues there is no active investigation.

“It’s crucial for the public to be able to scrutinize that investigation, to determine whether it was properly conducted, and whether there’s lesson we can learn from the way that that investigation had been conducted,” Topic said. “It’s just unfathomable to us that there’s no information that they can release out of those files, especially given everything that’s already been released, and especially given how important it is to scrutinize the police department, in an unsolved crime.”

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