By Charles Keeshan | Daily Herald Staff
The attorney for a Chicago woman accused of neglecting a horse she kept in Crystal Lake said he may ask a judge to move the case from McHenry County because of erroneous pretrial publicity linking his client to another animal abuse case.
County authorities confirmed Friday that initial statements connecting the case of Shannon Riley, 21, of Chicago, with that of Des Plaines resident Jamie A. Koy were wrong. While the two women were arrested about the same time on similar charges stemming from horses seized at the same location, they never were acting together, said Debra Quackenbush, spokeswoman for the McHenry County Department of Health.
“That information was not correct,” she said.
Riley attorney George Kililis said the information may have ruined his client’s chances at getting a fair trial in McHenry County, and he plans to ask a judge next month to move the case to another jurisdiction.
“My client has no connection to this other person other than they happened to board their horses at the same place,” Kililis said. “I’m aghast at how they could have made this mistake.”
Kililis said he would also seek a gag order on county authorities to prevent them from discussing the case in public.
Philip Hiscock, criminal division chief for the McHenry County State’s Attorney, said Friday he could not comment on Kililis’ plans until the defense lawyer files the requests in writing.
Riley was arrested Aug. 2 on a charge of cruel treatment of animals stemming from county animal control authorities’ seizure of one of her horses from a Crystal Lake horse farm. That same day, authorities arrested Koy, 37, of the 12500 block of Miner, on four counts of the same charge involving horses at the same location.
Kililis described Riley, whose seized horse since has died, as a “rehabber” who takes in sick horses and makes them well. The horse that died, he said, was being nursed back to health when authorities seized it.
“She’s absolutely innocent of these charges,” he said.
Riley’s next scheduled court date on the charge is Sept. 3.