4 judges, 5 prosecutors create one long road to justice

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The I-Team investigates a family's long road to justice after a father was killed and a mother maimed nearly five years ago by a driver authorities said was drunk. (WLS)

An ABC7 I-Team Investigation
The I-Team investigates a family's long road to justice after a father was killed and a mother maimed nearly five years ago by a driver authorities said was drunk.

That driver is still a free man. After nearly 60 court appearances during the past five years, the south suburban family says its long road to justice seems endless: a revolving door of judges and prosecutors assigned to the case.

Out of options, they came to the I-Team to see if we could find out what's taking so long.

"It's not going to get any better. He needs to go to jail because people need to see what happens," Kasey McFall said.

July 2, 2011. Kasey McFall and her husband, Jim, were on their way home from a barbecue when their motorcycle was hit by a pick-up truck in an intersection in Matteson. Jim died that night. Kasey was in a coma for 2 weeks, hospitalized for more than a month and then went through months of rehabilitation. The brain injury she suffered still affects her memory. Their daughter Courtney was 17 at the time.

"I will never be the same. He needs to go to jail. He killed my husband, maimed me. Why should he be out?" McFall said.

Police say Simuel Turner was driving the pick-up truck that hit the McFalls. He has plead not guilty to charges of driving under the influence and reckless homicide. This is Turner's second DUI.

After the accident that killed McFall, his license was suspended but was later reinstated. He now drives himself to court.

Nearly five years in, his case is regularly the oldest on the docket at the Markham courthouse.

Chuck Goudie: "Mr. Turner, you killed somebody and you maimed somebody and it's been 5 years and nothing has happened to you. What's that all about, how is that possible?"
Simuel Turner: "Oh, Chuck, this is the court system, I don't have nothing to do with that, Chuck, I can't control that."
Chuck Goudie: "You can't control it, well you and your attorney ask for continuances and you have for five years. Is that fair?"

The case is in front of its fourth judge and there have been five different assistant state's attorneys assigned. Kasey's family is flummoxed as to why the case drags on.

"I think it's a sad statement about our judicial process that if you know the system and you have a private attorney, that you can play these games and drag this out," said Kerry Clare-Piantek, Kasey's sister.

McFall's family regularly takes time off from work to take her to court, month after month.

"I can't do anything without my family...nothing," McFall said.

A stack of filings document each hearing. Dozens of continuances, mostly requested by the defense. Motions to reconsider things the judge already denied, including one by Turner's attorney asking for the results of Turner's blood test to be excluded, saying he did not agree to have the sample taken. The judge again denied the request.

"It just keeps going on, it just keeps going on," McFall said.

At the end of last year, the family said it was hopeful Turner would take the state's offer of six years in prison.

"We went to court and he just turned it down," Clare-Piantek said.

At this point, Kasey and her siblings say they want Turner to be punished for what he has put their family through.

"I really hope that he gets the full sentence. I hope he gets the 26 years," Clare-Piantek said.

"He needs to go to jail because people need to see what happens when you get drunk and you drive and you hit somebody, you killed somebody," McFall said.

The Cook County state's attorney's office turned down the I-Team's request for an interview, as did Turner's lawyer.

Late last week the state offered Turner a deal: plead guilty and spend 10 years in jail. That's 16 years less than the full sentence.

If he does not take the offer, a trial date is set for the end of September.
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