Prosecutors have launched efforts to improve how police handle young suspects after criticism of murder charges filed - and then dropped - against two boys.
Cook County State's Attorney Richard Devine announced Thursday that he has appointed a commission to study better ways to handle juvenile offenders in the wake of the Ryan Harris slaying.Devine said assistant state's attorneys will now be on hand to review felony charges before they are filed against youthful offenders and police have agreed to take steps toward videotaping homicide confessions.
He said police also agreed to try and have a parent or guardian on hand when they question suspects 12 or younger.
Eleven-year-old Ryan was found in a weed patch in July, having been struck in the head, sexually molested and suffocated.
Police arrested two boys, ages 7 and 8, saying the two confessed to the crime. But they were virtually ruled out as suspects after semen was found on Ryan's underpants; the boys were presumed to be too young to produce semen.
A 29-year-old man who has been charged with raping two other girls in the same neighborhood is now suspected in the attack on Ryan.
Devine said the formation of the commission was not an admission that the case was botched.