Cook to plead guilty to heroin and weapon charges

News-DemocratOctober 31, 2013 

— Former St. Clair County Circuit Judge Mike Cook is scheduled to plead guilty to heroin possession and weapons charges on Nov. 8.

Cook was scheduled to go to trial on Dec. 9, but an entry was made on his case on Thursday scheduling his change of plea from not guilty to guilty. U.S. District Judge Joe McDade, who is assigned to the central district of Illinois, will accept Cook's plea.

Cook's lawyer, Bill Lucco, could not be reached for comment.

Cook, 43, was arrested on May 22 outside a house in the 300 block of North 38th Street where his friend and former client Sean McGilvery was staying. Cook was later charged with misdemeanor possession of heroin and being the user of a controlled substance in possession of a firearm. Lucco has said that Cook did not have the gun on his person or in his vehicle at the time of his arrest.

McGilvery, 34, has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute heroin charges. His co-conspirators, Deborah Perkins, and her son, Douglas Oliver, also pleaded guilty. Perkins and Oliver are scheduled to be sentenced in December. McGilvery is scheduled to be sentenced in January.

McGilvery told federal agents that Cook purchased heroin from him nearly daily, according to court documents.

While still a judge, Cook signed a warrant against Perkins and Oliver on state heroin distribution charges on Jan. 21. On the same day, the two were charged in federal court on heroin charges.

At the time, two women died from overdoses connected to Perkins and Oliver. Jessica Williams, 30, died from an overdose around March 3, 2012. Her body was found three weeks later on a trash pile in Washington Park. Perkins and Oliver were charged with concealing her death and arrested on Sept. 5, 2012, but they both posted bond within days and were released.

Within weeks, Jennifer Herling, 20, died from an overdose at Perkins' and Oliver's home at 20 Kassing Drive in Fairview Heights.

Agents began making drug purchases from the home, according to court documents, using confidential sources.

Cook presided over more than 1,700 cases since become a circuit judge in 2010. Cook presided over more than 32 trials, 24 jury and eight bench trials. At the time of his arrest, Cook oversaw the docket of major felony cases and drug cases.

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