JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow announced that a jury today (Wednesday, Nov. 4) found a Crest Hill man guilty of attempting to abduct a teen-age girl from the street four years ago.
John R. Pitts Jr., 43, of 1521 Pioneer Road, was found guilty of attempted kidnapping and aggravated battery. The jury deliberated for roughly an hour before returning with a guilty verdict.
Pitts came up behind the victim who was walking home from work at a fast food restaurant on Oct. 20, 2005 and attempted to force her into his Jeep. He put his hand over her mouth and was pushing her toward the vehicle when a neighbor came out and yelled at him.
The victim escaped and immediately reported the incident to Joliet Police. She identified Pitts in a lineup after he was arrested as well as during her testimony this week at trial. The defendant also gave a videotaped statement to police admitting the facts in the case.
Pitts already has been convicted of three counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault in an unrelated case. He was sentenced earlier this year by Circuit Judge Amy Bertani-Tomczak to 90 years in prison for that case.
“John R. Pitts Jr. is a loathsome and abominable reprobate who will never again prey on young women in our community thanks to a first-rate investigation by Joliet Police and excellent trial work by my prosecutors,” State’s Attorney Glasgow said.
Assistant State’s Attorneys Tricia McKenna and Frank Byers prosecuted the attempted kidnapping case. McKenna also worked with Assistant State’s Attorney Mike Fitzgerald to prosecute the sexual assault case earlier this year.
The victim in the rape case testified at trial earlier this year that Pitts attacked her while she was walking to work along Mississippi Avenue around 5:30 a.m. on December 5, 2002. Pitts put a knife to her throat and threatened to kill her if she moved. He then forced her into the back seat of his car and drove to Patterson Road where he sexually assaulted her.
DNA samples collected from the victim when she was treated at the hospital matched Pitts’ DNA profile and conclusively linked him to the attack.
Pitts is facing criminal charges of criminal sexual assault in cases involving two additional female victims. He faces up to five years in prison when he is sentenced before Judge Bertani-Tomczak on December 18 on the attempted kidnapping and aggravated battery conviction.