EAST ST. LOUIS — U.S. Magistrate Donald Wilkerson decided Thursday that he would take some time to decide whether to release St. Clair County courthouse drug scandal suspect Sean McGilvery to an inpatient drug rehabilitation facility.
Wilkerson said he was frightened to release McGilvery, 34, because he suffers from "tremendous and ferocious drug addiction" and feared McGilvery may relapse upon release and placement on house arrest.
During Thursday's hearing, Rodney Holmes, McGilvery's lawyer, told Wilkerson that McGilvery had been addicted to heroin for 14 years in addition to using methadone for the past year and a half.
Holmes told the judge that during his first meeting with McGilvery after his arrest, he was shaking, sweating and throwing up into a trash can. McGilvery stopped using drugs "cold turkey," Holmes said, but needed treatment to stay clean.
Money for such treatment comes from the federal government, Holmes said, and is very limited. Holmes searched for a not-for-profit drug treatment facility because McGilvery didn't have any money to pay for drug treatment.
Holmes pointed out that McGilvery had no prior felony convictions.
Assistant U.S. Attorney James Porter pointed out that McGilvery once faced felony charges in St. Clair County, but former St. Clair County Circuit Judge Mike Cook, McGilvery's longtime friend, dismissed the charges after McGilvery completed drug school.
"The reason he doesn't have a conviction is because of the people he dealt with in the court system," Porter told Wilkerson. "He hasn't been made to pay for things he's done in the past."
Cook, 43, was arrested May 22 outside McGilvery's house in Belleville. He faces federal charges of being the user of a controlled substance in possession of a firearm and misdemeanor heroin possession. He later resigned. He is in a private drug rehabilitation center in Minnesota.
U.S. District Judge William Stiehl on Thursday allowed a delay in Cook's trial date because he is expected to be in treatment for "several" more weeks. Cook's attorney, Clyde Kuehn, asked for the delay to allow him time to meet with Cook and prepare a defense.
Cook's trial was rescheduled for Oct. 1.
McGilvery 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 of Deborah A. Perkins and Douglas W. Oliver to buy large quantities of heroin in Chicago and resell the drugs in the metro-east.
McGilvery was scheduled to go to trial on July 1, as was Perkins and Oliver. Earlier this week, Perkins and Oliver asked for their trials to be continued because they plan on pleading guilty to the charges.
McGilvery's trial may too be delayed, if Wilkerson decides to release him to get treatment. Wilkerson said he would make a decision regarding McGilvery's release in a "day or two."