Metro-East News

3/21/2006: County prosecutor assists probe of triple homicide

Editor’s note: This story originally ran in the Belleville News-Democrat on March 21, 2006

Prosecutors don’t usually get to look at a murder investigation until police bring it to their office for charges, but the Major Case Squad of Greater St. Louis is changing that.

St. Clair County Assistant State’s Attorney Jon Allard works with the six Major Case Squad investigators from Illinois and two from St. Louis as well as the four Belleville detectives assigned to investigate the year-old triple homicide at a Belleville beauty salon.

“He helps provide guidance to the investigators,” said Belleville Police Chief Dave Ruebhausen. “He lets us know what the St. Clair County state’s attorney is looking for.”

Allard has reviewed the more than two dozen search warrants issued in the case, said St. Clair County State’s Attorney Robert Haida.

Haida declined to discuss any evidence in the case, but he said Allard meets with the detectives every day and will “make the call” if and when charges are filed in the triple homicide.

Ruebhausen activated the Major Case Squad last week to investigate the murders of Michael Cooney, 62, and sisters Dorothy Bone, 82 and Doris Fischer, 79.

Cooney, Bone and Fischer were found stabbed to death March 2, 2005, in Cooney’s home-based salon at 7813 W. Main St.

“I do think we are making progress,” Ruebhausen said. “I feel really good about this.”

Former Belleville Police Chief Terry Delaney has said he believed Samuel L. Johnson committed the homicides, but no one has been charged.

Johnson has denied involvement in the homicides. The St. Louis man is serving 11 years in the Menard Correctional Center for kicking in the door of Cooney’s house more than a year before the killings.

The detectives from the Major Case Squad come from the St. Clair and Madison County sheriff’s departments and the Granite City, O’Fallon and Troy police departments, Ruebhausen said.

“This is not a conventional Major Case Squad,” Ruebhausen said. “I believe these detectives will be available to us as long as there is a need.”