Crime & Courts

Judge reduces bond in Cary drug-induced homicide case

Inset of Keenan Queen in front of Northwest Herald file photo of the McHenry County courthouse.

A judge reduced the bond of a Lake Villa man facing drug-induced homicide Tuesday after his defense attorney argued the prosecution’s only tie between the 22-year-old and the fatal overdose was a social media message.

Keenan R. Queen was not present when Cary resident Vincent Isola purchased or was given the drugs that ultimately led to his death in March, assistant state’s attorney Ken Hudson said.

Prosecutors have alleged in court records that Isola tried to buy drugs from Queen but Queen instead helped Isola arrange to buy them from another man, Jordan C. Schwamb, 22, of Antioch, who is also charged with drug-induced homicide in connection to Isola’s death.

Queen has been in custody of the McHenry County Jail awaiting trial on the charge since his September arrest.

His defense attorney Kim Messer, of the McHenry County Public Defender’s Office, said the evidence against her client consists of a message he sent on Snapchat containing contact information for Schwamb.

“There is no direct evidence,” she said, that ties Queen to being present as part of the alleged drug deal police say led to Isola’s death. Queen was out of town at the time of the alleged purchase, Messer said.

But Hudson said Queen is “accountable for the delivery” of the drugs Isola allegedly obtained from Schwamb as he arranged the sale.

McHenry County State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally said in an interview Tuesday that it is crucial for public safety to charge drug-induced homicide against anyone involved with facilitating a sale. His office is also willing to negotiate with defendants who can offer information to police about higher-level drug suppliers, he said.

Those facing drug-induced homicide “invariably refuse to cooperate with police and go up the chain,” Kenneally said, adding, “Almost none of them are high on the distribution chain given that McHenry County does not have organized crime” to the same extent as Rockford, Chicago or Waukegan.

“People in McHenry County are going and picking up drugs to supply themselves and their friends. I have to work in the environment I’m in. Irrespective of the fact that they’re lower on the drug distribution chain doesn’t make what they’re doing OK. They are risking people’s lives and they know that for a fact,” Kenneally said.

Messer asked Judge Robert Wilbrandt to lower Queen’s bond from $500,000 to $100,000 or less, with 10% required to be released. Wilbrandt decided to take it down to $250,000, which Messer said her client would be unlikely to meet.

She pointed to Schwamb’s bond in the case overseen by Judge Michael Coppedge being set at $100,000. He has since been released.

Schwamb’s attorney Thomas Meyers declined to comment Tuesday.

As he considered Messer’s request, Wilbrandt said he had concerns with Queen’s criminal record, which includes a 2018 conviction in McHenry County for aggravated battery causing great bodily harm, a Class 3 felony.

Queen’s case is set to be heard again Thursday, when a trial could be scheduled. Schwamb’s case is back in court on Jan. 14, records show.