A West Central Illinois family has been waiting 2 years for the closure of a murder case that took the life of a family member while that family member was serving time in prison. The family of 33 year old Earl Little, formerly of Rushville and Quincy, died serving a 21-year sentence in the Pinckneyville Prison for an armed robbery in DuPage County only a few months after being sentenced. Little allegedly died of cervical ligature placement.
Little’s family, who currently live in Beardstown and Quincy, has sent a letter to authorities asking why charges have not been brought against Little’s cellmate, 33 year old Daniel Mueller of Springfield. Chicago lawyer David Lipschultz, who is representing the family, says he’s not received any information in the nearly 2-year investigation by the Illinois Department of Corrections. Acting director of the Illinois Department of Corrections, Rob Jeffreys and Perry County State’s Attorney David Searby, Jr. received a letter on November 18th from Little’s family asking for answers, according to the State Journal Register.
Corrections spokeswoman Lindsey Hess said in an email to The State Journal-Register that the department “is investigating the death of Earl Little.” She added, “To protect the integrity of the investigation, no further details can be provided at this time.” Lipschultz also recently had a FOIA request denied about details of IDOC’s investigation.
Little was found dead in his cell at the medium security prison on July 6th, 2018. Little’s family believes that Mueller strangled Little to death over a fan. Little’s ex-wife, Megan Little of Beardstown, filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the prison’s former warden in 2018 but dropped the lawsuit the following year.
Mueller had been serving a 30-year sentence after being convicted in 2014 for the 2012 strangulation murder of his girlfriend 25 year old Kayla Dillon inside the house they lived together in, in Springfield. According to the SJ-R, Mueller is now being housed at Lawrence Correctional Facility.
Little’s case is one of 166 cases of people dying in Illinois prisons between 2017-2018. Little’s family hopes new light on the case will put pressure on IDOC to finally show movement in closing the case or pressing charges.