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updated: 4/29/2010 3:00 PM

Jury hears testimony in Kane County coroner probe

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  • Kane County Coroner Chuck West

      Kane County Coroner Chuck West

 

A grand jury heard testimony from two journalists this week in the ongoing criminal investigation of Kane County Coroner Chuck West.

The reporters, including one from the Daily Herald, were ordered to testify Tuesday about a March 12 interview in which West discussed his office's removal of a big-screen television from a dead man's home in 2007.

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Special Prosecutor Charles Colburn, who is investigating a potential official misconduct case against West, declined to comment on the proceedings Thursday other than to say the investigation is continuing. West attorney Gary Johnson also declined to comment beyond noting that grand juries are "supposed to be secret."

In March, West told reporters he had allowed two deputy coroners who live together to take home a television found at the scene of a death investigation in Carpentersville after authorities were unable to locate a next of kin.

He said the television was "stored" at the deputies' home because of a lack of space at the coroner's office, and that it was returned "on the spot" after family members of the deceased came forward.

County Board Chairman Karen McConnaughay said Thursday that officials were aware the grand jury had convened, but "it's not appropriate to jump to conclusions."

"It's all hearsay and innuendo until it's in black and white," she said. "I think we just need to be patient until we hear the actual facts of the case."

West, who was first elected coroner in 2000, has not been charged with any wrongdoing. He has said he believes the probe is politically motivated, and that he has no intention of resigning.

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