Kelly McGowen thought she was doing her boyfriend a favor when she loaned him her car June 17.
But after Darrell Broughton used it as a getaway car in a robbery at the Rosario Candy Co. in Batavia, the simple act became a three-year nightmare for the 24-year-old St. Charles woman.
This young woman went through a lot the last three years,” said McGowen’s defense attorney, Kathleen Colton, from being arrested twice to having her home searched.”
The nightmare ended Wednesday when Kane County prosecutors formally made a motion in court to drop obstruction of justice charges that first had been filed against her December 1997 and then again in November 1998 after the first charges were dismissed by Judge John Peterson.
Prosecutors had alleged that McGowen lied to police about where Broughton was the night of the robbery as well as where she and her car were.
Now, Colton said, “Kelly McGowen’s criminal case is finally over with.
The Rosario robbery was the largest in Batavia history.
Just after the last employee at Rosario Candy Co. a vending company was locking the doors to the business that June evening, Broughton and two other men, Eric Darding and Kenneth W. Skelton, forced an employee at gun point to go back inside and open a safe.
After tying her up, they stole $113,000 in cash and more than $100,000 in checks.
As the investigation heated up in the ensuing months. police grilled McGowen about the whereabouts of her boyfriend and her car on the night of the crime.
McGowen gave what police considered inconsistent statements about that night and she was charged with obstruction of justice.
Police say she invented a story to provide Broughton with an alibi.
Peterson dismissed the case, ruling police unintentionally misled the grand jury by repeating McGowen’s statements as first-hand accounts of where Broughton was the night of the robbery, rather than as stories he had told her.
The second case was dismissed by the states attorneys office when it had asked the attorney general’s office to review the case.
But the state’s attorney’s office appealed Peterson’s dismissal because it came with the order that charges never could be filed again.
In November the Illinois Appellate Court in Elgin reversed Petersons ruling, giving Kane County the opportunity to re-file the charges.
The dismissal of criminal charges Wednesday was a symbolic move by prosecutors.
After reviewing the case, the attorney general’s office earlier last year told Kane County it would not be filing charges against McGowen, said Joe McMahon, former criminal division head in Kane County.
“To us (the attorney general’s decision) ended the case.” said McMahon. who now, coincidentally, works for the attorney general’s office.
The case is not completely over, however. McGowen still is pursuing a civil lawsuit she filed last year against the two Batavia police officers who investigated her and pressed for charges. She alleges that she was harassed by the two officers and her reputation was injured.
In addition. Skelton, 35. one of the two men who robbed the Rosario Candy Co. along with Broughton. still is contesting his conviction in the case, contending that he had ineffective counsel during his trial last year.
Broughton. the mastermind behind the crime, previously had worked out a deal and was sentenced to eight years in prison. The third man. Eric Darding, worked out a deal first. However, and was not charged.