Cellphone can be used for evidence in Glen Ellyn man's trial for drug-induced homicide
When police tracked Francis Emanuele down at the Westmont car dealership where he worked on May 5, 2016, they immediately took his cellphone as a key piece of evidence.
DuPage County Judge Liam Brennan on Monday upheld his Aug. 30 ruling that prosecutors will be allowed to present that phone and its contents in Emanuele's trial on charges of drug-induced homicide.
Emanuele's attorneys have argued twice, including once in their motion asking Brennan to reconsider his previous ruling, that Glen Ellyn police illegally searched Emanuele and illegally seized his phone without a warrant. They say police didn't obtain a search warrant until the day after they took Emanuele's phone.
Brennan said Monday that he still believes the arrest to be legal and the phone to have been collected legally.
Emanuele later was arrested on a warrant in October 2016 and charged with the drug-induced homicide of a 15-year-old Glenbard South High School foreign exchange student from Spain. He also is charged with manufacture or delivery of a controlled substance, aggravated criminal sex abuse of a child, grooming and three counts of possessing child pornography in the same case.
Prosecutors maintain the teen's phone contained more than 1,000 text messages, including nude photos and suggestive messages between Emanuele and the teen. They said Emanuele also had lewd pictures of the girl.
The victim allegedly told her host parents in Glen Ellyn that she felt too ill to attend school on May 3, 2016, and returned to her bedroom. Early that evening, she was found unresponsive and not breathing in her bed.
The girl's host parents immediately called Glen Ellyn police who led the investigation into her death.
Authorities said police searching the girl's bedroom found an oral syringe with a small amount of a clear liquid and a prescription bottle with a small amount of clear liquid that later was determined to be methadone.
Prosecutors said half the label of the prescription bottle had been removed and the missing part later was found in Emanuele's car. Emanuele had a valid prescription for the drug.
Authorities say Emanuele not only supplied the girl with the drug, but also taught her how to ingest it.
The girl apparently met Emanuele because she was friends with another foreign exchange student who was living with Emanuele and his family.
Prosecutors said surveillance cameras captured several instances of Emanuele picking the girl up from school. In addition, they said his cellphone records place him at Glenbard South at the times and days he was seen picking the girl up from the high school.
Brennan said he would like to set the case for trial at Emanuele's next court date on Nov. 5.
The victim's family has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against Emanuele and his wife and the company that arranged the exchange, the Council for Educational Travel United States of America. That case is next scheduled to be heard on Dec. 11 to determine whether the council should be excluded from the suit.