OREGON – The death of Oregon High School student Jon Williams was ruled a homicide Friday during an inquest by the Winnebago County coroner’s office.
Ogle County State’s Attorney Mike Rock said he expect to file criminal charges in the death of the 18-year-old, and the coroner’s inquest will be one of many things his office will consider.
“We’ll take a look at what their findings are that led up to their conclusion,” Rock said. “We’ll take it into account. I’m not surprised. That’s kind of what we were expecting.”
Winnebago County Coroner Sue Fiduccia said during an interview Friday that each coroner’s office has different rules for inquests. In Winnebago County, she said, they’re held in every unnatural death case.
Inquests consist of a panel of six jurors who consider five verdicts: accidental, suicide, homicide, undetermined, and unnatural causes.
Panel members hear information about the victim’s death, and they decide the “manner of death.” The cause of Williams’ death had already been ruled to be “blunt trauma of the head due to a fall as a result of a physical altercation.”
The official manner of Williams’ death, the jury decided Friday, is “homicide (involuntary manslaughter).”
“In this particular case, they felt that even though there was a confrontation with a lot of people, where there were a lot of people fighting, someone punched him in the face, which caused him to fall to the ground, which caused a head injury, which caused his death,” Fiduccia said.
Williams, 18, was pronounced dead just after noon Aug. 11 at OSF St. Anthony Medical Center in Rockford. He had been injured early the previous day during a fight at a party in an Oregon home.
Oregon police responded to a disturbance call at the home about 3:15 a.m. Aug. 10 and charged five teens with illegal consumption.
At the time, Oregon Police Chief Darin DeHaan said that officers were told about a fight but saw no evidence of one.
Several hours later on Aug. 10, during another call to the house, police found Williams unresponsive.