'He's a heroin addict,' lawyer says of accused drug dealer linked to judge's case

News-DemocratMay 30, 2013 

— Sean McGilvery, a long time friend of former St. Clair County judge Mike Cook, pleaded not guilty Thursday in federal court on conspiracy to sell heroin charges.

McGilvery, 34, of Belleville, is charged with conspiracy to distribute and possession of more than two pounds of heroin. He is accused by federal agents of conspiring with the Fairview Heights mother-and-son team Deborah A. Perkins and Douglas W. Oliver to buy large quantities of heroin in Chicago and resell the drugs in the metro-east.

McGilvery entered the courtroom wearing a gray jumpsuit with St. Clair County Jail inked on the back, his hands and feet shackled. Before the hearing, he looked down and mumbled.

McGilvery, through his attorney Rodney Holmes, a public defender from St. Louis, waived his preliminary hearing and agreed to further detention until Holmes could find a suitable treatment facility.

"He's a heroin addict who is undergoing methadone treatment," Holmes told U.S. Magistrate Donald Wilkerson.

First Assistant U.S. Attorney Jim Porter said the government would oppose McGilvery's release because there was a risk that McGilvery would not appear in court.

Wilkerson agreed to allow Holmes time to find a facility before deciding whether to set bail until trial.

McGilvery is a close friend of Cook's, according to McGilvery's mother, Linda Gibson of Belleville. Gibson attended the hearing but later declined to talk to reporters.

Cook, 43, who resigned Wednesday from the bench, was arrested outside of McGilvery's home on May 15, according to court documents.

Cook was subsequently charged with one misdemeanor count of heroin possession and a single felony count of being a heroin user in possession of a firearm. He pleaded not guilty and was released on a recognizance bond. His attorney, Thomas Q. Keefe Jr., said he is in a private drug treatment center in Minnesota.

McGilvery is accused of pooling his money with a confidential source who traveled to Chicago to buy heroin. The trips began in 2008 and continued until January, according to FBI Joe Murphy's affidavit. McGilvery contributed $20,000 toward the purchase of heroin.

According to St. Clair County circuit court records, Cook was the presiding judge in a 2011 drug possession case where the charge was dismissed after McGilvery completed a local drug treatment program.

In March, newly appointed Associate Circuit Judge Joseph Christ, 49, a former St. Clair County assistant prosecutor, was found dead in a Pike County hunting cabin near Pleasant Hill, Ill., owned by Cook's parents, Belleville attorney Bruce Cook and his wife Sandra.

Pike County Sheriff Paul Petty, who is also the county's coroner, has ruled that Christ died of cocaine toxicity. In a written statement dated May 23, Petty has said that "cocaine and paraphernalia" were taken into custody although whether it was found in the cabin was not stated. Petty said Cook was the only other person at the cabin when Christ died.

A 911 call concerning Christ's death was made by Cook from a nearby house at 6:18 p.m., Petty has said.

"I anticipate that a full review of the death investigation file will be done over the course of the next week or two by prosecutors to determine if criminal charges should be filed involving the death of Joseph D. Christ," Petty said in a statement.

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