Attorney Sues for Records About 1966 Murder

     CHICAGO (CN) — A New York attorney who represents families in high-profile wrongful death cases sued several Illinois agencies for refusing to release records about the 50-year-old cold case murder of a politician’s daughter.
     Valerie Percy, the daughter of the late U.S. Sen. Charles Percy, was stabbed to death in 1966 when she was 21, less than two months before her father was elected. She was asleep in the family’s home in Kenilworth, Ill.
     A lawsuit filed April 13 by attorney John Q. Kelly says Valerie’s stepmother Lorraine heard glass breaking, moaning and then walked in on the intruder in her bedroom.
     The man escaped, but left a blood-stained glove in the home and a bayonet, thought to be the murder weapon, in a lake nearby.
     Three days later, the entire family took a private jet to California and refused to directly speak with any police officers.
     Former investigators have admitted that the Kenilworth police force was inexperienced in dealing with serious crimes at the time, and may have missed important evidence. Chicago police were eventually called in to help with the investigation.
     Police kept Valerie’s case open for over 20 years, but a suspect was never identified, according to a New York Times report.
     Percy was a successful businessman before running for office, and “was a well known, wealthy and powerful public figure,” according to Kelly’s Cook County lawsuit. Percy ended up serving for three terms in the U.S. Senate and had presidential ambitions at one point. He died at age 91 in 2011.
     Valerie’s twin sister Sharon, who was also home when the crime was committed, went on to marry U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller.
     Kelly, who represented the families of Nicole Brown Simpson and Natalee Holloway, claims in his lawsuit that his requests for “all records relating to the investigation” into the 1996 murder from the Village of Kenilworth, the Illinois State Police, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, the Chicago Police Department and the Cook County Medical Examiner have been denied.
     Some offices said they had no records at all, while others are “refusing to produce records from the investigation of an unsolved murder that occurred more than 50 years ago, claiming that there is not a single record from the investigation that can be released without interfering with an allegedly ‘ongoing’ investigation,” according to the 7-page complaint.
     Kelly sued the agencies for violations of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). He seeks release of the requested records, with only exempt material redacted, and civil penalties.
     The Illinois State Police and the Chicago Police Department said they cannot comment on pending litigation. The other defendants did not respond to an emailed request for comment from Courthouse News.
     Kelly recently joined forces with Ivey, Barnum & O’Mara, a practice based in Connecticut. He is represented in Chicago by Matthew Topic of Loevy & Loevy.

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