Metro-East News

July 21, 2014

State police trooper gets 'no confidence' letter from state's attorney

An Illinois State Police trooper who allegedly choked a motorist during a traffic stop last fall has received a letter of "no confidence" from St. Clair County State's Attorney Brendan Kelly.

Bradley G. Wilken, 44, of Belleville, has credibility issues that will no longer allow him to be a witness in cases prosecuted by Kelly's office, according to the letter.

Wilken is married to former Southwestern Illinois Correctional Center guard Victoria Castillo Wilken, 33, who recently was charged with five counts of custodial sexual misconduct and one count of official misconduct for allegedly engaging in sex with an inmate. Her case is pending.

Criminal charges were not issued against Wilken.

Wilken, who last year earned $84,278, is currently on restricted duty, according to ISP spokesman Monique Bond. Wilken will have no contact with the public, she said.

An ISP Department of Internal investigation is ongoing, Bond said.

"The Illinois State Police take this matter seriously and will not tolerate misconduct an any level," Illinois State Police Director Hiram Grau said in a statement.

In a letter dated July 8 to Grau, Kelly stated that Wilken's conduct during the traffic stop of college student Kevin Gutknecht on Nov. 29 has resulted in a stance of "no confidence" in Wilken as a prosecution witness.

" ... I have decided that Wilken's conduct with the student, his violations of policy, as well as his other unprofessional incidents combine to create a credibility deficit that would prevent my office from calling as a witness in court," Kelly wrote.

The letter from Kelly, obtained under an Illinois Freedom of Information Act request, stated that Wilken stopped Gutknecht on Interstate 64 and Wilken's dashboard camera shows Wilken reaching inside Gutknecht's car at the end of the stop.

"The video does not show exactly what happened inside the student's car, it does not reveal the actions of the student in the car and there is no audio recording to reveal what was being said a the time of the incident," the letter stated.

Gutknecht called 911 after the stop to make a complaint. Gutknecht stated, according to Kelly's letter, that Wilken used profanities during the stop, then was grabbed Gutknecht around the neck by Wilken. Gutknecht used his phone to take pictures of the marks on his neck.

After Gutknecht made the 911 call, Wilken again stopped Gutknecht, but Wilken turned off his audio and video recorders, in violation of Illinois State Police policy, Kelly said.

Gutknecht refused to roll down his window, the letter stated, and Wilken asked him why Gutknecht's shirt was off and what he was doing with his phone.

Gutknecht was ticketed for speeding, but the charge was later dismissed.

Gutknecht, of Casper, Wyo., could not be reached for comment.

In his letter, Kelly further stated that Wilken:

* has a history of anger management issues.

* has been disciplined for an aggressive outburst in the Ozarks against a water patrol officer.

* has been disciplined for unprofessional aggressive conduct at a simulation exercise in Springfield where he allegedly purposely shot in the direction of minor participants playing the roles of hostages. His actions caused the exercise to be terminated.

Kelly declined to comment. The letter stated prosecutors could not determine whether it was a justified use of force and an improper or criminal use of force.

Former St. Clair County State's Attorney Robert Haida raised credibility issues with 19 officers from at least six departments across the county. Of those, nine East St. Louis officers were on Haida's list of officers with "substantial credibility issues," including Detective Ricky Perry, Rudy McIntosh, Danielle More, Mario Fennoy, Allen Bonds, Debra Simpkins, Keith Randolph and Nick Mueller and former Lt. Lance Murphy.

In 2013, Kelly reiterated that his office would not use Perry as a key witness in any state case.

Kelly has charged 19 public officials with official misconduct, including former New Athens police chief Dallas Hill, who pleaded guilty and admitted that he took an Apple iPod and Apple iPad from evidence and used them for personal matters.

In April, Illinois State Trooper Corey Alberson was charged with aggravated battery after a strip search during a traffic stop in East St. Louis.

Prosecutors alleged that Alberson stopped a man on North Ninth Street in East St. Louis on Jan. 21, 2013, and pulled down his pants without his consent, exposing his buttocks and then visually examined Campbell's buttocks with a flashlight while holding his pants down.

The search occurred on a public roadway.

The charges against Alberson are pending. The cases against Alberson and Wilken were investigated by Illinois State Police Department of Internal Investigations.

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