A young man appeared in Cook County Bond Court this past weekend, charged with obstruction of justice and the concealment of a death. The allegations against the 23-year-old Midlothian man are connected to the death of his 25-year-old roommate, which the man claims occurred more than two weeks ago. The court decided to hold the man without bail until an autopsy could be completed on the roommate’s body.
Trying to Avoid Eviction
According to reports from the Chicago Tribune and other news outlets, the man claimed that his roommate died of drug overdose on November 13. He allegedly panicked and, fearing that he would be evicted from their shared apartment, attempted to hide the death. He is thought to have put the roommate’s body in a suitcase, dragged it to a basement storage area, and left it there. Another resident of the building eventually notified police when the foul odor of decomposition became apparent. Police traced the smell and discovered the suitcase containing the roommate’s remains.
Under Illinois law, knowingly concealing the death of another person is a Class 4 felony. The charges can be upgraded to a Class 3 felony if the concealed death was caused by a homicide. Neither charge assumes or precludes additional charges related to the death.
In this particular case, the young man was also charged with obstruction of justice. Prosecutors allege that the man not only attempted to mislead police about his roommate’s death, but also that he destroyed evidence including drug paraphernalia and many of his roommate’s personal belongings. Obstructing justice is a Class 4 felony, and a defendant facing such a charge may be subject to imprisonment of one to three years and fines of up to $25,000.
- To be considered obstructing justice, a person must knowingly:
- Destroy, alter, hide, or disguise physical evidence or plant false evidence;
- Provide false information to law enforcement;
- Force a material witness to hide or leave the state;
- Possess material knowledge regarding an investigation and hide or leave the state; or
- Make false or misleading reports to any government agency regarding an investigation concerning the disappearance or death of a child.
If you have been charged with obstructing justice, you need an attorney who will fight to protect your rights and your future. Contact an experienced Joliet criminal defense lawyer at the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba today. We will review your case and help you understand your available options. Call 815-740-4025 to schedule your free consultation today and get the high-quality representation you deserve.