Press Release

December 1, 2010


Morris man sentenced to 52 years for killing 2-year-old boy


Gilbert Knowles
Gilbert Knowles
JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow announced today that a judge sentenced a Morris man who beat to death his girlfriend’s 2-year-old son to 52 years in prison.


Gilbert Knowles, 36, was found guilty by Circuit Judge Richard Schoenstedt on two counts of first-degree murder for the killing of Devin Owens on Sept. 17, 2007.  Judge Schoenstedt, who presided over a bench trial that concluded in August, sentenced Knowles on Wednesday morning.


“This pitiless deviant viciously murdered an innocent child who had no ability to protect himself,” State’s Attorney Glasgow said. “After carefully examining the evidence that my prosecutors presented during trial and finding the defendant guilty, Judge Schoenstedt today guaranteed no other child will suffer such terrible harm at the hands of Gilbert Knowles.”


On the night of the murder, Knowles returned to the Joliet home he shared with his girlfriend after an evening of drinking and using cocaine. He was left alone to watch Devin and his two young sisters.  The next morning, the boy’s mother found Devin’s body wedged between his bed and the wall.


The boy suffered more than 30 injuries to his head alone during the severe beating he sustained, including bruises, a fractured skull and a torn lip. Bruises on the back of his head matched patterns on a bath mat investigators seized from the house. A forensic pathologist testified the child died in the roughly two hours after Knowles was left alone in the house with the children.


Detectives also located a shirt in the woods behind the Wilmington business where Knowles worked. The shirt had traces of both the defendant’s and Devin’s DNA on it. Assistant State’s Attorneys Steve Platek and Anna Rossi argued during trial that Knowles attempted to hide the shirt in the woods after committing the murder.


Read Victim Impact Statements from the Gilbert Knowles case.

Charles B. Pelkie 
(815) 727-8789
(815) 530-7110 (cellular) 

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