Kids get chance to win bicycles during weekend fun fair; event to raise awareness for victims rights, child abuse prevention

April 23

JOLIET – Every child who attends Saturday’s child abuse prevention fun fair will have a chance to win one of four bicycles that will be raffled during the annual event.

The 5th Annual Fun Fair will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, April 28 in the cafeteria at Joliet West High School, 401 N. Larkin Avenue in Joliet.  The event is free and open to the public.

Every child who attends will be given a free ticket to enter one of four bicycle raffles.

Two of the bikes – one for boys and one for girls – are for children ages 6 to 9. Two tricycles for younger children also will be raffled. Children who attend can choose which free bicycle raffle they want to enter. 

The bicycles and matching helmets were donated by the Will County State’s Attorney’s Office, AFSCME Local 1028 and Sumbaum Cycle in Joliet.

The Will County State’s Attorney’s Office, the Will County Sheriff’s Department and more than two dozen other agencies that participate in the Will County Child Abuse Prevention Coalition are hosting the annual fun fair. The event will give kids a chance to have a good time while providing important information to parents on how to protect their children.

“The annual fun fair caps off National Crime Victims’ Rights Week and highlights Child Abuse Prevention Month,” said Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow. “While the kids are having fun, participating agencies will have an opportunity to talk with adults about what they can do to keep their children safe and secure.”

The annual fun fair will feature children’s games, crafts and contests. Music by Don Gray, the ABC DJ and free snacks also are on the agenda.

Parents can have child identification cards made. Local agencies also will host booths that have information and tips for adults on raising children safely. These agencies also will host additional raffles and giveaways.   

For more information, call Deb Clark at the Will County Child Abuse Prevention Coalition at (815) 727-6978.

Volunteer coach convicted of having sex with students

April 19

JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow announced Thursday that a Joliet Township High School District volunteer track coach was convicted of criminal sexual assault and criminal sexual abuse for having sex with a 15-year-old cheerleader.

A jury deliberated for three hours before finding Marcus Grocesley (gro SES lee), 22, of the 700 block of Water Street, Joliet, guilty on three counts of criminal sexual assault and three counts of criminal sexual abuse. Grocesley faces up to 45 years in prison when he is sentenced before Circuit Judge Amy Bertani-Tomczak on June 21. Probation is not a sentencing option.

Grocesley also faces additional criminal sexual assault and criminal sexual abuse charges stemming from allegations he had sex with seven other Joliet Township High School District students. The seven criminal cases, which were the result of an intensive investigation by the Joliet Police Department, are pending in Will County Circuit Court.

In the case that went to trial this week, Grocesley met the girl while she was a cheerleader at a high school football game in October 2005. They met again while she was a cheerleader at a high school basketball game in December 2005.

Their first sexual encounter occurred in the evening after that December basketball game. The girl, who is now 16, disabled the alarm on her house to allow Grocesley, who was 21 at the time, into her bedroom.

The charges allege Grocesley had a sexual relationship with the girl that ran from December 2005 through February 2006. Testimony during the three-day trial revealed that Grocesley also had sex with the girl in his car and at his friend’s house. On one occasion, one of the girl’s friends joined the two for a sexual encounter. That friend also testified during Grocesley’s trial.

“Marcus Grocesley preyed on a vulnerable young girl,” Glasgow said. “He knew she was just a child, but he had sex with her anyway. Make no mistake, Grocesley is a dangerous predator, and she was his victim.”

The girl testified that she had told Grocesley she was 15. In addition, there were pictures of her in her cheerleading uniform in the bedroom where they had sex. And she prominently displayed in her room a jacket patch of the number 08 – the year she will graduate.

The criminal sexual assault charges allege the victim was underage and that he “held a position of trust, authority or supervision in relation to the victim.” The criminal sexual abuse charges allege the girl was between the ages of 13 and 17 and that Grocesley was at least five years older than the victim.

Glasgow credited Assistant State’s Attorneys Michael Fitzgerald and Mary Fillipitch for proving to jurors beyond a reasonable doubt that Grocesley abused his position with the high school district by having sex with the girl.

“These two prosecutors utilized top-notch trial skills to win a critical conviction that will put this pathetic sexual deviant behind bars for a long, long time,” Glasgow said.

The two prosecutors argued successfully that because he was a volunteer coach with the district’s athletic department, he had a responsibility not to have sex with a girl he knew to be a student at the high school. 

With regard to the pending cases, the Will County State’s Attorney’s Office reminds the public that charges are not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Misdemeanor charge filed against teacher accused of slapping student

April 17

JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow Tuesday announced the filing of a misdemeanor battery charge against a Naperville teacher who is alleged to have slapped a student at Neuqua Valley High School.

Akela J. Dillon, 26, of Lisle, is scheduled to appear in court on April 27 on the Class A misdemeanor, which carries a penalty of up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. 

The misdemeanor charge alleges that Dillon struck the 16-year-old boy in the face on April 3. The incident is alleged to have occurred in a hallway at Neuqua Valley High School.

“This office takes seriously all allegations of battery on school property,” Glasgow said. “Schools must be safe havens from any form of violence. Teachers must serve as role models for their students.”

The Naperville Police Department investigated the allegation and forwarded its reports, including a security video from the school hallway, to the Will County State’s Attorney’s Office last week.  

Naperville Police Chief David Dial said: “This action appropriately holds the teacher accountable for the criminal act that she committed.”

The Will County State’s Attorney’s Office reminds the public that charges are not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Joliet woman convicted of scalding her stepson in bathtub filled with extremely hot water

April 4

JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow announced today that a 30-year-old woman who scalded her 3-year-old stepson in a bathtub filled with extremely hot water last year was convicted of aggravated battery of a child.

Nancy E. Delbosque, of the 900 block of North Prairie, Joliet, faces between six and 30 years in prison when she is sentenced for the Class X felony by Circuit Judge Richard Schoenstedt on June 7. Probation is not a sentencing option for Class X felony convictions.

Schoenstedt found Delbosque guilty following a three-day bench trial that concluded last week. The judge took his decision under advisement until Wednesday. 

Delbosque was accused of holding her stepson in the hot water on Feb. 11, 2006 and causing third-degree burns below the waist that peeled his skin. Police measured the temperature of water running out of the faucet at 150 degrees on the day of the child’s injury.

To cause those burns, Delbosque would have had to have held the child in 150-degree water for roughly 10 seconds, according to Dr. Richard Louis Gamelli, a medical expert who testified on behalf of the state. Dr. Gamelli is the head of pediatrics at Loyola University Medical Center.

Delbosque initially told police her stepson climbed into the bathtub on his own. She later stated in a taped interview with Joliet investigators that she placed the child in the water and that the screaming boy tried to get out of the bathtub by crawling up her arm.

She told police she had been experiencing a stressful day and that her stepson had refused to get in the tub for a bath.

“Nancy Delbosque deliberately caused horrific injuries to a little boy who relied on her to keep him safe,” Glasgow said. “I can’t think of a greater violation of trust.”

Glasgow credited Assistant State’s Attorneys Steve Platek and Jennifer Chang, who prosecuted Delbosque, and Joliet Detective Linda Odom, who led the police investigation, for building a case that left no doubt that this woman deliberately harmed her stepson.

Man pleads guilty, receives life in prison for 1998 Frankfort murder

March 27

JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow announced Tuesday that a former Blue Island man has pleaded guilty to a 1998 murder that was Frankfort’s only civilian homicide in the village’s 128-year history.

Anthony Brescia, 52, was sentenced to life in prison. He was indicted in June 2006 for the murder of 43-year-old Juliet Chinn, who was stabbed to death in her Frankfort townhouse on May 18, 1998.

The 2006 indictment marked a breakthrough in the unsolved case and sustained Glasgow’s decision in 1999 to dismiss murder charges against another man who was the initial focus of the investigation.

Investigators initially focused on a man who was Chinn’s longtime coworker and boyfriend. The man, Barry McCarthy, was charged with murder after an investigation that included a forensic expert’s opinion regarding blood-spatter patterns found on Mr. McCarthy’s pants. Mr. McCarthy found Chinn’s body and called 911 on the day of the murder.

Glasgow personally reviewed the case and came to doubt that expert’s opinion. The state’s attorney dismissed the murder charges against Mr. McCarthy after calling in another internationally renowned forensic scientist, who confirmed that his suspicions about the original blood-spatter analysis were on target.

“I was deeply troubled by the conclusions drawn in the original blood-spatter analysis,” Glasgow said. “I felt it was appropriate to bring in a top expert in this forensic field to review the evidence. After extensive consultation with this expert and local investigators, I was convinced that I needed to drop the charges in the interest of justice.”

Glasgow said the guilty plea and life sentence will ensure that this violent criminal will never again be free to terrorize the public.

The state’s attorney also said he hopes the plea will bring closure to the victim’s family as well as Mr. McCarthy, who has attended every one of Brescia’s court appearances since the indictment.

Mr. McCarthy said Tuesday afternoon that he was glad the case is now closed. He also said he was grateful the state’s attorney pursued an alternate theory that eventually cleared him as a suspect.

The expert Glasgow called to review the blood-spatter pattern in 1999 was Tom Bevel, a former Oklahoma City police investigator and an associate professor of forensic science. Bevel, a respected expert in blood-spatter analysis, also authored a text on the subject.

The first forensic expert issued an opinion stating the blood pattern found on McCarthy’s pants was the result of aspirated blood, which would have placed him at the scene when the victim died.

Bevel, however, determined the pattern could have been the result of some part of the victim’s body, possibly her hand, falling in a puddle of blood. This pattern could have occurred when McCarthy found Chinn dead in her townhouse and moved her to see if she was still alive.

Brescia forced his way through the front door of Chinn’s townhouse with plans to burglarize the home. After surprising Chinn, he fled the house. Chinn, however, followed him to the front door and called out his license plate number, which prompted Brescia to return.

The victim grabbed a kitchen knife, which Brescia wrestled from her and used to stab her in the neck and chest. He also punched her and strangled her.

Brescia currently is serving a 45-year sentence for a similar murder he committed in Palos Park four months after Chinn’s slaying. He confessed that he killed Chinn to Illinois Department of Corrections, who notified Frankfort police about his statements.

Frankfort Detectives Will Dowding and Kevin Keegan visited Brescia at Pontiac Correctional Center in December 2005 and took a videotaped statement from him.

Glasgow credited Frankfort police, including Chief Robert Piscia and Detectives Dowding and Keegan, for their thorough investigation of the new leads. Glasgow’s investigators, Detectives Pete Piazza and Daniel Procarione, also assisted in the investigation.

The state’s attorney also praised former prosecutor John McCabe and current Will County Assistant State’s Attorney Michael Fitzgerald for their assistance in analyzing the blood spatter evidence in 1999.

Drunken driver gets 8-1/2 years for causing fatal wreck

March 5

JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow announced Tuesday that a 31-year-old man has been sentenced to 8-1/2 years in prison for causing the one-car wreck that killed a Plainfield woman last year.

James O. Patrick, of 427 Champlain, Joliet, pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of aggravated driving while under the influence of alcohol, a Class 2 felony punishable by 3-14 years in prison. Aggravated DUI involving a death carries the same potential penalties as those in the former reckless homicide statute. 

Lisa A. Webb, 39, was killed in the crash that occurred near the intersection of Woodruff and Hacker in Joliet on the morning of Nov. 5, 2006. Webb, the front-seat passenger in the car, was pronounced dead at the scene. A backseat passenger, Crystel R. Miller, 24, was treated for her injuries.

The westbound Chevrolet Monte Carlo Patrick was driving veered off the road and struck a tree and a utility box.

Patrick’s blood-alcohol level tested at .210. The legal limit is .08. Patrick’s blood on the day of the collision also tested positive for marijuana, cocaine and PCP.

Assistant State’s Attorney Steve Platek prosecuted the case.

Mother pleads guilty to obstructing justice during investigation into the sexual assault of her daughter

March 5

JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow announced Tuesday that a Wilmington woman has pleaded guilty to charges of obstructing justice and concealing a fugitive in the investigation into the sexual assault of her disabled daughter in 2005.

Kimberly A. Riordan, 33, of the 300 block of North First Street, Wilmington, entered a blind plea to both charges Tuesday afternoon. She faces between one and six years in prison when she is sentenced before Circuit Judge Amy Bertani-Tomczak on May 14. Probation is also a possible sentence.

The charges allege Riordan gave false information to Detective Dave Margliano, who was investigating whether her daughter had been sexually assaulted by a caregiver. The charges also allege that the caregiver, Lawrence Southwood, gave Riordan $10,000 not to report the sexual assault.

Margliano, one of the state’s attorney’s investigators, launched the investigation after receiving information from a source that Southwood was sexually assaulting the girl.

Southwood, 69, who cared for the girl while her mother was away, was sentenced to 104 years in prison for his crime. He sexually abused the girl on at least three occasions between August and December of 2005.

The state’s attorney’s office last week dismissed one count alleging criminal neglect of a disabled person against Riordan. To prove the allegations in that count, the state would have had to call the victim as a witness. The girl already testified against Southwood during his trial last year.

The girl is under the care and supervision of The Department of Children and Family Services, Catholic Charities and a Court-Appointed Special Advocate, all of whom report that requiring her to testify against the defendant in this second case would cause extreme stress and psychological damage.

The case against Riordan is being prosecuted by Assistant State’s Attorneys Lea Norbut, chief of the criminal division, and Tina Brault, who heads the juvenile division.

Man gets nine years for beating Romeoville teen-ager in his own home

February 28

JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow announced Wednesday that an 18-year-old man was sentenced to nine years in prison for forcing his way into the house of a Romeoville teen-ager and beating the youth in his own living room.

Eddie J. Craig, 18, of 250 Shannon Drive, Romeoville, was convicted in December of home invasion and aggravated battery at the conclusion of a bench trial before Circuit Judge Richard Schoenstedt.

The judge sentenced Craig on Wednesday to nine years for the home invasion, which is a Class X felony, and two years for the aggravated battery, which is a Class 3 felony. The two sentences will run concurrently.

Craig and three other individuals barged into the victim’s Romeoville house, where they proceeded to beat and kick him on the afternoon of Jan. 17, 2006. The victim, who did not know his attackers, suffered a concussion, a torn lip and multiple bruises and scratches during the beating.

Craig knocked on the victim’s front door and asked for a person named Tyrell. The victim, who is a high school honors student, said no one by that name lived in his house. Craig and another unidentified male knocked on the victim’s door a short time later and asked once again for Tyrell and received the same response.

Craig returned a third time with three other individuals. On this occasion, they forced their way into the house, beat the victim, and then fled. 

“Craig and this gang of brutal thugs attacked an unsuspecting teen-ager in what should have been the safety and comfort of his own home,” Glasgow said. “The beating was so savage that the attackers left a shoe print on the young man’s face. Craig deserves every minute he spends behind bars.” 

Romeoville detectives working the case developed leads pointing to Craig’s involvement in the attack. The victim identified Craig in a photo line up and testified against his attacker during the trial.

Police testimony during the trial revealed that Craig and the other attackers were searching door-to-door along that Romeoville block for a rival they believed to be in the neighborhood.

Glasgow credited Assistant State’s Attorney Steve Platek for securing a conviction based on the victim’s identification. The judge found the identification highly credible because the victim came face-to-face with Craig on three occasions that afternoon.

The state’s attorney also credited Romeoville police for pursuing the investigation aggressively and for bringing Craig to justice. Craig’s accomplices have yet to be identified. The investigation remains open.

Man gets 12 years in prison after pleading to cocaine trafficking charge

February 26

JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow announced Monday that a California truck driver caught with an estimated 7,000 grams of cocaine in his trailer at a Plainfield truck stop last year has been sentenced to 12 years in prison.

Manuel Ramirez, 38, of Elmonte, Calif., pleaded guilty on Monday to one Class X felony count of unlawful possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver.

A Class X felony typically carries a minimum sentence of six years in prison with no option for probation upon conviction. Because of the large amount of cocaine seized in this case, the minimum sentence allowable for the felony charge to which Ramirez pleaded guilty was 12 years. Ramirez has no prior criminal record.

“The harsh minimum penalties for trafficking in cocaine should send a warning to those involved in the illegal drug trade. If you are caught and convicted, you will go to prison for a long time,” Glasgow said. “Mr. Ramirez will learn that the hard way behind bars for his first conviction.”

Ramirez agreed to allow Illinois State Police investigators to search his trailer while he was parked at a truck stop off Interstate 55 at U.S. 30 on Sept. 18, 2006. The amount of cocaine seized had an estimated street value of more than $700,000.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant State’s Attorney Jeff Tuminello, who serves in Glasgow’s Drug Unit.

Jury deliberates 15 minutes-convicts man in Bolingbrook shooting

February 26

JOLIET – A jury deliberated for 15 minutes Monday before finding a Bolingbrook man guilty of shooting another man in the hallway of a Bolingbrook apartment complex last year.

Paul A. Smith, 34, of 511 Preston Drive, was convicted of one count of aggravated battery with a firearm Monday. He faces up to 60 years in prison when he is sentenced before Circuit Judge Amy Bertani-Tomczak on March 29.

Smith shot Marvis Smith in the left side on April 28, 2006 in the hallway at 610 Preston Drive. Marvis Smith, who is not related to the assailant, was permanently paralyzed below the waist after the bullet severed his spinal cord. He also suffered injuries to his lung, pancreas and spleen.

Paramedics transported Marvis Smith to the Will County Courthouse Monday morning to testify against the shooter.  He was wheeled into the courthouse on a hospital gurney and then secured in a wheelchair for his testimony.

At one point, Assistant State’s Attorneys Michael Fitzgerald and Chris Regis faced the prospect of trying the case without Marvis Smith’s eyewitness testimony. Shortly before the trial started on Feb. 20, the victim was hospitalized after he suffered a severe infection that was linked to complications stemming from his injuries. It was unclear last week whether he would recover in time to testify.

“The obstacles these two skilled prosecutors faced were unavoidable, but they handled these difficulties with tremendous professionalism” said Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow. “The evidence they presented to jurors left no doubt that Paul Smith was the shooter. Their excellent work will take a dangerous man off the streets.”

Paul Smith arrived at the apartment complex in the evening on April 28, 2006 and confronted Marvis Smith in the hallway. The two men scuffled before Paul Smith produced a gun and fired two rounds, one of which injured Marvis Smith.

Several of Marvis Smith’s family members witnessed the shooting and testified during the four-day trial. A motive for the shooting was never revealed during the trial.

Glasgow praised Bolingbrook police for their rapid response to the report of shots fired. Officers took Paul Smith into custody within 15 minutes of the shooting.

Paul Smith already was convicted following a bench trial before Judge Bertani-Tomczak in October on one count of being an armed habitual criminal in connection with the Marvis Smith shooting.

That charge, which is a Class X felony, alleged that Paul Smith possessed a firearm on the night Marvis Smith was shot after he already had been convicted of a residential burglary and an aggravated battery with a firearm. The residential burglary and aggravated battery with a firearm both occurred in Cook County.