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Court documents shed light on torture, murder of man in East St. Louis

6:32 PM, Jul 22, 2010   |    comments
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By Ann Rubin

East St. Louis, IL (KSDK) -- Court documents shed new light on the torture and murder of a homeless man in East St. Louis. Investigators believe it happened inside an abandoned warehouse.

According to the documents, they found several rooms inside. Some had tents and bedding, but others looked like torture chambers right out of a movie. The documents show they found tools including a meat cleaver, hack saw, drywall saw and metal shears.

See pictures from inside the warehouse 

"There is nothing I've seen in the line of police work compared to this case," said Det. Orlando Ward of the East St. Louis Police Department.  "It was just totally something we don't deal with on a daily basis."

The case began to unfold June 22 when two workers spotted a fire off Winters Street in East St. Louis.  Upon closer inspection, they found a body.  The victim had been shot, dismembered, then burned.

Authorities later identified him as Zachary Irvin formerly of St. Elmo, Illinois.  He had recently lost his job, and become homeless.  The discovery led investigators to this warehouse on Front Street.

"A lot of homeless come down there looking for shelter, had been staying there for quite awhile," Ward said.  "And the victim had just known the suspects a week maybe."

The suspects were also homeless.  Dennis Iagulli and James Pierson are now charged with Irvin's death.

NewsChannel 5 crews spotted an open door at the vacant warehouse.  Peering inside, we could see symbols and pentagrams on the walls.  Court documents add that a red-blood like substance was found on the floor as well as two discharged shell casings.

Investigators believed that the suspects were living there, as they told us in an earlier interview.

"Once we cleared it, just sit back and get your thoughts together like what possibly could have been on these people's minds," Ward said.

And they said the horror of this case won't be something they'll soon forget.

"Just something you'd see from a 'Friday the 13th' movie or something like that," Ward said.

Authorities continue to investigate whether there might have been other victims. The suspects are being held on $3 million bond.



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