July 19, 2014

'Trap House' murder remains unsolved in Venice

Steven Boyd's naked and decomposing body was found eight years ago in an overgrown lot off the intersection of 11th and Russell in East St. Louis.

There was a single bullet in the left side of his head.

Boyd was last seen in the early morning hours of June 17, 2006, washing a car outside a house at the rear of 1009 Market St. in Venice, a house known to the locals as "The Trap House."

"The location known as The Trap House is believed to have been used by individuals for the distribution of marijuana, crack cocaine and heroin, in the Newport area of Venice, Illinois," wrote Stephen Kirkpatrick, a special agent for the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

There were no arrests made in Steven Boyd's murder. A federal search warrant application and affidavit was signed by Kirkpatrick and unsealed last month.

Kirkpatrick applied for the search warrant in 2012, seeking victim remains, firearms, weapons, ammunition, clothing or other items blood stains, human tissue, hairs fibers, biological materials and fingerprints from inside The Trap House.

Neither Kirkpatrick nor a spokesman for ATF could be reached for comment.

A confidential informant told Kirkpatrick that Boyd was murdered inside The Trap House in June 2006 because Boyd had stolen approximately 9 ounces of crack cocaine from a Venice man and 30-year-old Dorian Boyd, who is not related to Steven Boyd.

Steven Boyd, 40, of Madison, cleaned the house and washed cars for Dorian Boyd and another man. The informant told Kirkpatrick that Steven Boyd made an extra key to the house and used it to enter the house to steal guns and drugs. The informant also said Steven Boyd provided information about the drug operation at The Trap House to rival drug dealers, according to Kirkpatrick's affidavit.

The day after Steven Boyd's body was found, a man turned over a rifle to Venice Police Officer Oliver Mason that he bought from Steven Boyd for $100. The man told Mason that Steven Boyd was upset at the way he was treated by Dorian Boyd.

Kirkpatrick traced the gun and found Dorian Boyd purchased it from a Belleville gun shop in February 2006. He also found that Dorian Boyd bought another rifle nine days before Steven Boyd's body was discovered.

The informant went on to tell Kirkpatrick that the day after Steven Boyd was murdered, they saw marks on Dorian Boyd's body and scratches on his face.

"The confidential informant added that following the murder, Dorian Boyd attended Steven Boyd's funeral so as to 'throw people off' with regards to his involvement in the homicide," Kirkpatrick's affidavit stated.

After Steven Boyd's murder, the informant spotted a bullet hole in the floor -- a floor that was later removed by a drug addict named "Gopher" and burned.

Joyce Boyd, Dorian Boyd's mother, owns The Trap House and she lives in a house about 75 feet away. She denied the floor was ever removed, except to remove a defect by the front door.

Joyce Boyd said the ATF came to search the house in October 2012. They questioned her and asked if she would take a polygraph, an offer she declined.

"I just couldn't see (Dorian) doing that," Joyce Boyd said. "If I thought my son had anything to do with that, I would have turned him in myself."

But an informant told Kirkpatrick that they talked to Joyce Boyd, who told them that before Steven Boyd's murder, she said Steven Boyd was "going to get hurt."

"Shortly thereafter, Joyce Boyd told the informant that 'Dorian and them have done something very bad and I have to go back there and clean it up," the affidavit stated. "The informant further stated that he/she later witnessed Joyce Boyd take paint, bleach, a mop and a bucket to The Trap House."

"Oh, hell no," Joyce Boyd said. "I didn't do that. I wouldn't do that. I was the one trying to hold the peace down back there."

Joyce Boyd said there wasn't anything going on at The Trap house besides "boys being boys." She maintained she knew her son wasn't an angel and made mistakes.

Dorian Boyd is currently serving a 40-year prison sentence for shooting Dion Hardin outside the Club Peek-A-Boo in Brooklyn on Sept. 22, 2009. Hardin was taking food inside to the bartender. There was no motive given for the shooting.

While her son was in St. Clair County Jail awaiting trial, there was another outbreak of violence at The Trap House.

The night of Sept. 23, 2010, Joyce Boyd said she heard gunshots outside her home. She got on the floor and waited for the quiet, then she went into her yard. She found 24-year-old Keelan W. Garrett laying face down, a drink in one hand, a $10 bill in the other.

"I lifted up his head to see his face, then I put his head in my lap," she said.

Garrett later died from a gunshot wound to the head.

Joyce Boyd said Garrett's uncle lived across the street from her, but Illinois State Police Special Agent Tyson Melvin testified at the coroner's inquest that Garrett may have been a visitor at the Trap House.

"He was an acquaintance of some people who lived there," Melvin said.

Before his death, Garrett had been shot on three separate occasions, once in the head, in the leg and the back, but survived.

Garrett lived a few doors down from Steven Boyd on Douglas Avenue in Madison.

No one has been charged in the deaths of Steven Boyd or Garrett.

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