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Charges dismissed against Portage man in ’72 Illinois killing

Gary Allyn Warwick former assistant softball coach Purdue North Central who resigned this past spring has been charged with murder

Gary Allyn Warwick, a former assistant softball coach at Purdue North Central who resigned this past spring, has been charged with murder in the 1972 death of a child in downstate Illinois. | Photo provided/Sun-Times Media

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Updated: June 17, 2014 2:11PM



BELLEVILLE, Ill. — An Illinois judge has dismissed a case against a former softball coach from Portage accused of beating a baby to death in 1972.

The Belleville News-Democrat reports that St. Clair County Circuit Judge Bob Haida on Wednesday dismissed the case against Gary Allyn Warwick of Portage. The judge found the passage of time prejudiced Warwick’s defense.

Warwick’s attorney, James Gomric, said they are “very pleased” with the ruling. State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly said his office is considering an appeal.

The murder charge was related to the Dec. 30, 1972, death of 1-year-old Joseph Henry Abernathy III. Authorities allege Warwick was dating the child’s mother but wasn’t the child’s father.

In April 1973, Warwick was initially indicted in the case. Trial was set, but Warwick’s attorney at the time sought a delay, citing his client’s medical problems. The case was dismissed without explanation through an order issued in September 1974.

St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly launched a cold-case investigation after he received petitions from an online campaign and was made aware of a YouTube video created by the child’s family.

Warwick, who was 62 when he was arrested, was an assistant softball coach at Purdue University North Central and full-time coach for the Indiana Raiders girls travel softball program, according to a Purdue North Central website. He resigned in the spring of 2013, according to a university spokeswoman.

He is a married father of two adult daughters and has three grandchildren, the website said.



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