Former Williamson County State's Attorney dies - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Former Williamson County State's Attorney dies

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Courtesy: CASA Courtesy: CASA

WSIL -- Former Williamson County State's Attorney Chuck Garnati has died. He was 65 years old and had been receiving treatment at St. Louis University Hospital. Friends confirm Garnati died around 2:10 a.m. Tuesday. 

Garnati was first elected Williamson County's top prosecutor in 1984. It's a position he held until retiring in 2014.

"It's my intent to serve out my full term, if my health holds up."
That was Chuck Garnati in 2012 -- as he began his 8th term as Williamson County State's Attorney.

Despite his intentions -- health issues forced him to resign in 2014 -- turning the job over to Brandon Zanotti.

"He was my mentor for many years and more importantly, just a very dear friend," said Zanotti.

Throughout his career -- Garnati built a reputation as being tough on crime.

He tried 30 murder cases in his 30 years as the county's top prosecutor -- gaining first degree murder convictions in 29 of them -- manslaughter in the other.

"This is a man who gave his entire life to public service, to helping the people of this county, to helping victims of violent crimes get justice," Zanotti recalled. 

That service led him to support two groups he helped create: the Williamson County Child Advocacy Center and CASA -- the Court Appointed Special Advocates.

Garnati's annual golf scramble raised large amounts of money -- so those programs could continue helping children.

"I know that was near and dear to his heart, ensuring that the children in our community were taken care of, safe, and advocated for," explained Nannette Evans.

Brandon Zanotti has continued that tradition -- with the amount raised now totaling close to a half million dollars.

It's part of the legacy that Zanotti plans to continue -- as he remembers his friend and mentor.

"I'm going to endeavor every day to make him proud and to continue the legacy of Chuck Garnati here". 

Friends and family will gather to remember Garnati at a visitation Friday evening from 5-8 P.M. at Meredith-Waddell Funeral Home in Herrin.

His funeral will follow, also at the funeral home, Saturday morning at 11.

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