Wednesday, February 13, 2013
The Joliet man apologized for his actions but the judge still gave him 14 years.
A Joliet man facing up to 15 years in prison for beating his young stepdaughter got almost the maximum, with the judge giving him 14 years behind bars. Richard Harris, 35, had pleaded guilty last week to a charge of aggravated battery to a child. He also told Judge Sarah Jones he was "sorry." Harris was arrested in February 2011. He allegedly beat his 2-year-old stepdaughter. Harris will have to serve at least 85 percent of the 14 years. Judge Jones will entertain a motion to reconsider her sentence on Feb. 26.
Saturday, January 5, 2013
The New Year didn't start out all that great for everyone.
The New Year turned five days old today. And out of those five days, the Will County Courthouse was only open for three of them. That may not be a lot of days, but they were still action-packed and exciting. How action packed and exciting? Well, let's take a look: Are you a fan of true crime? Then come like our Facebook page.
Thursday, January 3, 2013
The family of Joseph Messina was distraught after a Will County judge found him guilty of punching a Joliet man into a coma more than three years ago.
Three and a half years after he was punched into a coma outside a Mokena bar, Eric Bartels sat propped in a wheelchair in a crowded Joliet courtroom. After the judge found the New Lenox man charged with striking him guilty, Bartels blinked his eyes once. "There are times when he knows what's going on," Bartels' mother, Janet Bartels of Tinley Park, said after Judge Sarah Jones delivered her verdict against Joseph Messina, 24, Thursday morning. Janet Bartels wasn't sure if that was one of those moments, but said she saw Messina going down from the start. "I knew this would be the outcome all along," she said. All along began back in July 2009 at the Mokena bar 191 South. Messina and five friends went to 191 South to celebrate his 21st …
Friday, November 30, 2012
The convicted quadruple-killer got a quick start to his new life behind bars.
Will County didn't waste any time ridding themselves of Christopher Vaughn, packing the man who executed his entire family off to prison the day after his sentencing. Vaughn, 38, was shipped up to Stateville Correctional Center to start serving the four life sentences handed down by Judge Daniel Rozak on Tuesday. According to Department of Corrections Records, the former Oswego resident made it to Stateville Wednesday. Vaughn declined to make a statement at his sentencing hearing and sat stone-faced as Rozak told him he would never get out of prison alive. Vaughn's father-in-law, Del Phillips, later said he had hoped Vaughn "would open up and say why" he killed his wife, Kimberly Vaughn, and three children—Blake, 8, Cassandra, 11, and …
Monday, September 24, 2012
The fallout from the failed defense of convicted murderer Drew Peterson continued with one of the ex-cop's lawyers demanding an apology.
The "lead" attorney on Drew Peterson's defense team is an "obnoxious," "mumbling, fumbling and bumbling," "childish" liar who "blew the case" through "ignorance, obduracy and ineptitude," says Peterson co-counsel Steve Greenberg. Greenberg not only blamed lead attorney Joel Brodsky for losing the Peterson case, he accused Brodsky of attacking his "family with vile and disgusting comments." And now Greenberg wants an apology. "I will allow you 24 hours from the time this letter is transmitted to make a full public retraction and to provide a full public apology," Greenberg wrote in a 15-page, footnoted letter sent today. In the letter, Greenberg said Brodsky tried to make him the "fall guy" after Peterson was convicted of murder. The guilty…
Thursday, September 20, 2012
The jury in the Christopher Vaughn's murder trial found the Oswego man guilty in less than an hour.
Christopher Vaughn's murder trial lasted a full month, but it only took the jury 50 minutes to signal the court that they had a verdict. That verdict was guilty on all four counts of first-degree murder. Vaughn sat expressionless while Will County Judge Daniel Rozak read the finding and as each juror repeated it in turn. "This case was not just a murder, it was an atrocity," Will County State's Attorney James Glasgow said at the trial's conclusion Thursday afternoon. Vaughn, 37, killed his entire family in June 2007. He initially faced the death penalty if convicted, and that played a large part in the case's lurching progress through the court system. "If there's a case that deserves the death penalty, it's this case," Glasgow said. Gov. …
A Will County jury needed less than an hour to find the Oswego man guilty of murdering his family so he could pursue his dream of living in the Canadian wilderness
A Will County jury needed less than an hour to declare Christopher Vaughn guilty of murdering his wife and three children in a desperate effort to free himself of his obligations for a new life in the Canadian wilderness. Vaughn, dressed in his daily court attire of cowboy boots, sports coat and white shirt, showed no emotion when the verdict was read or as he was led from the courtroom. Members of Kimberly Vaughn's family were emotional, several crying in response to the ruling. The jury's decision means members believed that Vaughn intentionally put a gun below the chin of his wife Kimberly, 34, and shot her in the head before turning the weapon on Abigayle, 12, Cassandra, 11, and Blake, 8, shooting each child in the head and torso. The…
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Prison-bound Drew Peterson fired arguably the most effective attorney on his defense team.
JOLIET, IL -- Less than a week after going down for murder in one of the most sensational criminal cases in the state's history, Drew Peterson axed one of the top attorneys on his legal team. "Apparently I've been fired," said defense attorney Steve Greenberg. "I've been discharged," Greenberg said. "I've been terminated." READ MORE: Greenberg said he got a signed notice from Peterson Tuesday. He also said he received a letter from lead attorney Joel Brodsky warning him not to publicly comment about the case. "I'm not going to comment on incompetence," Greenberg said. Greenberg and co-counsel Joseph "Shark" Lopez appeared to have Peterson's case well in hand, as Judge Edward Burmila consistently thwarted prosecutors' attempts to get …
Friday, September 7, 2012
A witness called by his own attorneys ended up swaying the jury into deciding Drew Peterson was guilty of murder, jurors said the day after the trial.
The entire jury in the Drew Peterson murder trial figured from the beginning of their deliberations that the disgraced ex-cop's third wife, Kathleen Savio, had been slain and was not the victim of an accident. But at the start only seven thought Peterson was guilty of killing her. It took the testimony of Savio's divorce lawyer—a witness called by Peterson's own attorneys—to tip the scales and send Peterson down on the murder rap, jurors said the day after they rendered their verdict. "The lawyer's testimony was the one that got us the most," said jury foreman Eduardo Saldana, a 22-year-old Bolingbrook resident and college student. Saldana said he initially "was more for the defense," but testimony from a minister who had counseled …
Thursday, September 6, 2012
Family and friends of Kathleen Savio broke down in tears after Drew Peterson's guilty verdict was read. The family and friends of Peterson's fourth wife are still waiting for their day in court.
When the jury filed in a bit before 3 p.m. Thursday, Drew Peterson knew he was looking at either a flight to New York to go on the Today show or a bus ride to Stateville to spend what's left of his life in prison. The jury told him he was going to be taking the bus. After a day and a half of deliberation and a 24-day trial, the jury found Peterson guilty of murdering his third wife, Kathleen Savio. "I loved my sister very much. She's finally getting the justice she deserved," said Savio's sister, Susan Doman. "He's a sick man," Doman said of Peterson. "He's an evil man." Doman's husband, Mitch Doman, hugged his wife outside the courtroom and said, "They got the murdering bastard." Judge Edward Burmila set Peterson's sentencing date for Nov…