Editorials

390 days vs. three days to find suspect in Belleville

Marlon M. Humphries, 22, of Belleville on Friday was charged with raping a woman on Oct. 18, 2014, and another on Nov. 8. It took the crime lab 390 days to process evidence from the first rape.
Marlon M. Humphries, 22, of Belleville on Friday was charged with raping a woman on Oct. 18, 2014, and another on Nov. 8. It took the crime lab 390 days to process evidence from the first rape. Provided

Justice took some contorted turns last week for two Belleville women.

On Oct. 18, 2014, A 52-year-old woman was riding her bike near North 11th and West D streets in Belleville when a man pulled her off the bike and raped her in an alley.

At about 1:30 a.m. on Nov. 8, a 56-year-old woman was walking home from a bar when a man pushed her to the ground, grabbed her by the throat and raped her. The second attack was on the bike trail near South Sixth Street and Centreville Avenue — about a half mile from the first attack.

The first case went cold as Belleville Police waited for evidence to be processed by the Illinois State Police Crime Lab.

Within three days of the second attack Belleville Police had a suspect. Within five days they had him charged with both rapes.

“This is an example of some outstanding police work by the Belleville Police Department,” St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly said. “We would not be here charging a case from 2014 as well as charging the case from this last week had it not been for their efforts.”

Police hit the streets to develop Marlon M. Humphries, 22, of Belleville as a suspect. He was charged with both rapes because the crime lab just happened to run the older rape case evidence on Thursday and develop him as a suspect.

Think about that first victim: The 52-year-old woman lived for more than a year knowing the stranger who raped her was still out there.

Now think about the second victim: Would Humphries have still been on the street to rape her Nov. 8 had the crime lab been able to move faster?

Back in April after the News-Democrat published a series on the abysmal record of rape prosecutions in Southern Illinois, Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan promised $6 million to speed up rape kit processing in the state’s crime labs.

It appears that time is relative for our state’s government. The money that would help the local crime lab take less than 390 days to process rape evidence should have been in the 2016 budget that Madigan and Co. have failed to pass for 140 days.

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