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People v. McVay

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Third District

August 30, 2019

TIMOTHY J. McVAY, Defendant-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Circuit Court of the 14th Judicial Circuit, Rock Island County, No. 14-CF-589 Illinois Honorable F. Michael Meersman, Judge, Presiding.

          JUSTICE O'BRIEN delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justice Holdridge concurred in the judgment and opinion. Justice McDade concurred in part and dissented in part, with opinion.


          O'BRIEN JUSTICE.

         ¶ 1 The defendant, Timothy J. McVay, was convicted of first degree murder and concealment of a homicidal death after a bench trial. He was sentenced to 40 years in prison for first degree murder, with a consecutive 5-year term of imprisonment on the concealment charge. He appealed, and we affirm.

         ¶ 2 FACTS

         ¶ 3 The defendant, Timothy McVay, was charged by information on July 18, 2014, with the first degree murder of Carrie Olson (720 ILCS 5/9-1(a)(2) (West 2012)) and the concealment of a homicidal death (720 ILCS 5/9-3.4(a) (West 2012)). The information alleged that the defendant committed the murder in Rock Island County on December 29, 2013, and concealed the homicidal death on that date. There were a number of law enforcement agencies involved, since the defendant lived in Illinois, Carrie was a resident of Iowa, and her body was found in Minnesota.

         ¶ 4 Carrie's family reported her missing to the Davenport, Iowa, police department when she did not show up for work on December 30, 2013. While Carrie was missing, on January 3, 2014, Detective Tina Noe of the Rock Island Police Department, who had been assigned to assist the Davenport Police Department in its investigation of the missing person, submitted a complaint and affidavit for a search warrant to search the defendant's home for evidence of a missing person. The complaint and affidavit stated that Noe had probable and reasonable grounds to believe she was looking for evidence that Carrie was a missing person, suspicious death, and/or homicide and recounted the evidence, including the defendant's admission that Carrie was at his home, the defendant had her car, and the defendant had used Carrie's debit card. The search warrant was granted on the basis of Noe's allegations that she had probable and reasonable cause to believe evidence of a missing person was in the defendant's home. The defendant later filed a motion to quash the search warrant and suppress evidence, which was denied. The trial court found that the search warrant was barebones, but that there was probable cause to believe that the search warrant should have been signed and executed.

         ¶ 5 A 12-day bench trial commenced on June 10, 2015. Carrie's father, Dave Olson, testified that Carrie lived in Davenport, Iowa, and worked at the family flooring business in Davenport. She drove a 2005 Toyota Avalon. Carrie's family was concerned when she did not show up for work on Monday, December 30, 2013. Dave went over to Carrie's home, and her boyfriend, Justin Mueller, was there. Dave did not know that Mueller lived with Carrie. Mueller said that Carrie had not been home. Dave used Carrie's garage code to enter her house. He testified that the code on December 30 was 1-9-5-5. Dave testified that the garage code was 1-5-8-something when the defendant lived with Carrie, but she had changed it after they broke up and the defendant moved out. Dave and his wife, Karen Olson, called the police and made a missing person report. Dave and Karen checked Carrie's bank and phone records and determined that the last call on her cell phone was around 4 a.m. on December 29, 2013, and it was to the defendant. Dave texted and called the defendant several times on December 30; the defendant responded in the evening with a text saying that he was on a trip and he had not talked to Carrie that day. The defendant told Dave that Carrie had a key to the defendant's house and suggested that she might be hanging out over there, and so the defendant told Dave to go look for her at the defendant's home. Dave and some other family members went to the defendant's home, but Carrie was not there. The defendant told Dave that Carrie's car was at the Minneapolis airport. The defendant also told Dave that he was going to try to change his plans and come home on January 2, and he would bring Dave the car. The defendant texted Dave on January 2, around 1:35 p.m., that he was in Minnesota and leaving shortly to return to Davenport. Dave went to the police station around 5 p.m., expecting the defendant around that time, but the defendant did not arrive until around midnight.

         ¶ 6 The defendant returned Carrie's car, and Dave looked through it later that night in the police garage. The car had food wrappers on the floor and in the back seat, and Carrie's purse and boots were in the trunk. Dave did not see a blue blanket that Carrie usually had in her trunk.

         ¶ 7 Karen testified that she last saw Carrie on Friday, December 28, at around 1 p.m. Carrie had a fresh manicure. Carrie did not mention to Karen that she wanted to get away. Karen did not know that Carrie was dating, and living with, Mueller. Karen knew that Carrie and the defendant had dated and lived together, but she did not know that they had remained friends. Karen testified that when the defendant returned Carrie's car, there was a blue purse in the trunk of Carrie's car, which contained Carrie's hairbrush, checkbook, and makeup bag. There was also a towel in the back seat of her car. Karen also testified that Carrie kept a royal blue blanket in her trunk, but it was not found in her car.

         ¶ 8 Carrie's sister, Jacklyn Crisci, testified that Carrie never let anyone borrow her car. She was also not aware that Mueller lived with Carrie, or that Carrie and the defendant remained friends.

         ¶ 9 Amanda Smith, Carrie's best friend, testified that she was in town for the weekend. She arrived in Davenport around 2 a.m. on Saturday, December 28. Carrie texted at 9:31 p.m. on December 28, saying that she was on her way home from Dubuque, Iowa, and wanted to meet up. Smith said she was going to bed, but they made plans to meet the next day. Carrie did not respond to any of Smith's messages on December 29. Smith did not think it was typical of Carrie to go to Dubuque by herself. Carrie had told Smith that she wanted to get away for a little bit. Smith knew that Carrie was having problems with Mueller.

         ¶ 10 Detective Noe testified that McVay was present when they executed the search warrant on his home on January 3, 2014. Noe testified that a boarding pass from Las Vegas to Minneapolis was found in the side pocket of a black leather duffel bag that appeared to be shiny and new. She described McVay's home as messy and unkept, and she noted several rolls of carpet stacked on top of each other in the living room area. After Carrie's body was eventually found, Noe was asked to do another search warrant for the defendant's residence. The second warrant was executed on April 8, 2014. Several samples of carpet from the carpet rolls were collected and submitted to the crime lab.

         ¶ 11 Noe testified that Carrie's boyfriend, Mueller, was never a viable suspect for a number of reasons, including the fact that his cell phone records showed that he never left the area and he was excluded from the DNA under Carrie's fingernails. Noe thought it was odd that Carrie had any DNA under her fingernails because she had just had a manicure on the December 28, so any DNA would have been after that. Noe also reviewed Carrie's cell phone records and the defendant's cell phone records. Prior to Carrie's disappearance, they mainly texted, multiple times a day. The last telephone call on Carrie's phone was from the defendant at 3:58 a.m. on December 29. The defendant claimed that he called Carrie because she had left his residence to purchase some beverages. There were no telephone calls or text messages between Carrie and the defendant on December 30.

         ¶ 12 Noe testified that after Carrie withdrew $200 from the IH Mississippi Valley Credit Union in Davenport during the afternoon of December 28, there were no other withdrawals prior to the first incorrect PIN attempt in the early morning hours of December 29. Noe testified that the defendant stated that Carrie sent him out to get $400 in cash with her debit card at around 6 a.m. on December 29. Mapping the card usage in relation to the defendant's home, and the fact that he passed within blocks of his home twice, Noe found it odd that the defendant did not stop at home to ask Carrie the PIN-or call or text her to ask her the PIN. Also, the defendant claims to have taken Carrie home after these attempts, and despite several ATMs on the route to Carrie's home, he does not stop at another ATM.

         ¶ 13 Employees of the credit union testified that Carrie's debit card was used on December 28 at a 7-Eleven and a nail salon, and to make a $200 withdrawal with the correct PIN from a Davenport ATM at 2 p.m. A receipt from her card showed that she bought a bag of chips, one pack of Camel cigarettes, one pack of Marlboro cigarettes, and gas at 4:07 p.m. at the 7-Eleven in Rock Island. Carrie's debit card was declined at 6:17 a.m. on December 29 for gas at the Git-N-Go station in Rock Island for an incorrect PIN. It was again declined at 6:22 a.m. at the 7-Eleven in Rock Island (also called Mother Hubbard's), but a $20 transaction was allowed at 6:23 a.m. inside the store, with no PIN required. Video surveillance confirmed that the defendant was using Carrie's card for the store purchase, and Carrie could not be seen in the car. At 6:33 a.m., three attempts were made to obtain $400 at a credit union ATM in Rock Island with an incorrect PIN, and Carrie's card was then blocked. The surveillance camera showed a car drive up and a man insert the ATM card, but the driver's face could not be seen. Carrie's PIN had been 1954, but she had changed it on December 20 to 1684.

         ¶ 14 The defendant's father, John McVay, testified that he and the defendant were supposed to drive to Kentucky or Tennessee to pick up the defendant's friend after Christmas, but when they did not hear from her, John went hunting on December 27. John did not know that the defendant was going to Las Vegas, but he was not surprised. The ...

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