Coroner: Hanna’s death now a homicide
By Judy Masterson Jmasterson@stmedianetwork.com January 22, 2013 10:02AM
Updated: March 24, 2013 1:16AM
Lake County Coroner Dr. Thomas Rudd announced today the manner of death in the Darrin Hanna case is now judged a homicide, a change in the North Chicago man’s official death.
In March 2012, the Coroner’s Office under then-Coroner Artis Yancey, declared the 45-year-old man’s manner of death in November 2011 as “undetermined.” Hanna died in the hospital a week after allegedly being beaten while in custody of North Chicago police. Rudd defeated Yancey in the March 2012 Democratic Primary and took office last month.
Since then, Rudd said he obtained new information and reviewed all available facts, numerous detailed law enforcement reports, medical records, photographs, tape recording, and autopsy reports. Additionally, he interviewed coroner’s staff and consulted with forensic science experts.
“This office recognizes that the intermingling of natural and non-natural factors presents a set of complex considerations in deciding the manner of death. In making this judgment, I used the National Association of Medical Examiners Manner of Death Classification principle that states ‘but for the injury (or hostile environment), would the person have died when he or she did?’ This logic is often cited as a way to determine whether a death should be classified as natural, or non-natural, i.e. homicide, accident, or suicide.
“The manner of death is unnatural where injury hastened the death of one already vulnerable to significant or even life threatening disease,” he said.
“Homicide occurs when a person’s death results from a volitional act committed by another person to cause fear, harm, or death,.” Rudd added. “Intent to cause death is a common element, but is not required for classification as a homicide.
“It must be emphasized that the classification of homicide for the purposes of death investigation is a neutral term and neither indicates nor implies criminal intent, which remains within the province of legal processes,” the coroner said.