Crime

Special prosecutor appointed to handle case of Clinton County teen’s death

Here's what we know about death of Breese teen

Jacob J. Arter died after he was battered at a party in rural Clinton County. The sheriff's department continues an investigation.
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Jacob J. Arter died after he was battered at a party in rural Clinton County. The sheriff's department continues an investigation.

A special prosecutor has been appointed to handle the case involving the death of a Breese teenager, Clinton County State’s Attorney John Hudspeth said Tuesday, because Hudspeth is related to the suspect.

Hudspeth said the court appointed the special prosecutor at his request. The special prosecutor could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday.

“Until now, the Clinton County State’s Attorney’s Office has been providing support to the (Clinton County) Sheriff’s Office since early Sunday morning when the incident happened,” Hudspeth wrote in a statement. “However, I am related to the family of a juvenile suspect now in custody in this investigation.”

“I have had a close relationship with many members of the suspect’s family for decades,” Hudspeth wrote. “In order to avoid any claim of error which might result from a conflict of interests, and to avoid the appearance of impropriety, I had no choice but to ask the court to appoint a special prosecutor.”

None of the Clinton County assistant prosecutors could fill in for Hudspeth because conflicts of interest with state’s attorneys extend to their assistants as well, Hudspeth wrote.

A suspect remained in custody Tuesday at a juvenile detention center in connection with the death of 18-year-old Jacob J. Arter, of Breese. Authorities said Arter died early Sunday morning after he was battered at a private clubhouse in rural Clinton County. Arter, a senior at Central Community High School in Breese, was pronounced dead at St. Joseph’s Hospital at 2:24 a.m. Sunday, according to Coroner Phillip Moss.

Hudspeth spoke about his replacement with Clinton County Sheriff Doug Maue and one of Arter’s parents. Later, Hudspeth introduced the parent to the new prosecutor.

The Illinois State’s Attorney’s Appellate Prosecutor, the office now in charge of the case, could not be reached Tuesday evening for comment.

The identity of the suspect, who is 17, has not been released.

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