Charges upgraded to murder in Channahon shooting after one victim dies Friday morning

July 17

JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow announces today that charges against four individuals alleged to be involved in last week’s shooting and home invasion in Channahon have been upgraded to first-degree murder.

Jason S. Orasco, 24, of Channahon, Matthew Edwards, 17, of Joliet, Ashley Hill, 17, of Joliet, and Mary Vetor, 23, of Joliet, each face two counts of first-degree murder in connection with the shooting of Joshua Terdic on July 7. Terdic, who was shot in the head with a handgun, died on Friday morning (July 17, 2009).

The four defendants each also face one charge of attempted first-degree murder and one charge of aggravated battery with a firearm in connection with the shooting of Lauren Vasilakis on that same date as well as one charge of home invasion alleging they forced their way into Joshua Terdic’s dwelling and shot him. Edwards faces an additional home invasion charge alleging he personally discharged the firearm.

The State’s Attorney’s Office also filed a motion on Friday to increase bond on all four defendants.

The motion will be addressed at 1:30 p.m. on Monday (July 20) in Courtroom 305 for Orasco, Edwards and Hill, all of whom are represented by the Will County Public Defender. 

The motion for Vetor, who is represented by private counsel, will be addressed at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday (July 21) in Courtroom 305.

Vetor currently is being held in the Will County Jail on $1 million bail. She must post 10 percent, or $100,000, to secure her release while she awaits trial. A judge on Friday issued a no bond warrant for Orasco, Edwards and Hill. They cannot post bail until the state’s motion is addressed on Monday.

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.

Man gets 20 years for attempted murder for stabbing his 6-week-old baby with knife

July 15

JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow announced on Wednesday (July 15, 2009) that a Romeoville man who stabbed his 6-week-old child in the chest with a folding knife last year has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Miguel Villarreal, 26, of 1914 Cobblestone, Romeoville, was convicted May 7 of attempted first-degree murder and aggravated battery of a child at the conclusion of a three-day jury trial. Circuit Judge Amy Bertani-Tomczak handed down the 20-year sentence.

During an argument with the child’s mother on Mother’s Day 2008, Villarreal locked himself in the bedroom with the baby. He stabbed the infant twice in the chest over the heart and then stabbed himself in the stomach in a murder-suicide attempt.

The stab wounds did not pierce the baby’s chest plate. The baby recovered from the attack, although the child’s chest will be scarred for life. Villarreal was rushed to the hospital and survived after the knife was removed from his stomach during emergency surgery.

“Miguel Villarreal committed the most loathsome and revulsive act imaginable against his own child,” State’s Attorney Glasgow said. “The most secure place for this innocent and defenseless baby should have been in his father’s arms. Instead of protecting his newborn son, this reprobate pulled out his knife and used it to perform a sadistic act of inconceivable savagery.”

When Romeoville detectives and paramedics arrived at the scene, they found the 15-pound infant covered in blood that they initially believed was from Villarreal’s self-inflicted knife wound. They immediately removed the child’s blood-stained Winnie the Pooh pajamas and found the stab wounds inflicted by his father.

Glasgow said top-notch trial work by Assistant State’s Attorneys Frank Byers and Jessica Colon-Sayre secured the conviction against Villarreal. He also praised Romeoville Police, particularly Detective Sgt. Ken Kroll, for a first-rate investigation.

Kroll followed Villarreal into surgery so that the knife could be placed into police custody immediately after it was removed from the defendant’s stomach.

“It’s this kind of attention to detail and procedure on the part of investigators that enables skilled prosecutors like Frank Byers and Jessica Colon-Sayre to prove their cases beyond a reasonable doubt when they go to trial,” Glasgow said.

Bridgeview man gets seven years in prison for DUI crash that killed 10-year-old Morris girl

July 14

JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow announced that a 27-year-old man was sentenced on Tuesday to seven years in prison for driving while drunk and causing a wreck that killed a 10-year-old girl and seriously injured her 15-year-old brother.

Thomas Fisher, of Bridgeview, pleaded guilty in May to two counts of aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol in connection with the fatal collision in 2006. 

Prosecutors asked the court to hand down a 12-year prison sentence on Tuesday. The maximum sentence under Illinois law for this crime is 14 years. Circuit Judge Amy Bertani-Tomczak sentenced Fisher to seven years.

The collision occurred at 12:30 p.m. Feb. 12, 2006 at the corner of Laraway and Cedar Roads in New Lenox. 

Viridiana Lopez, 10, and her brother, Eduardo Lopez, 15, of Morris, were in a van with family members and were on their way to a Sunday afternoon soccer game. Fisher was speeding at 67 mph when he struck the family’s van, which was stopped at an intersection. 

Fisher’s blood-alcohol level tested at .17 at the time of the wreck, more than twice the legal limit of .08.

“Thomas Fisher’s callous decision to drink and drive claimed the life of an innocent little girl whose entire life was ahead of her,” State’s Attorney Glasgow said. “He will spend the next seven years reflecting on the young life he stole and the pain and suffering he inflicted on the girl’s family.”

Assistant State’s Attorneys Michael Fitzgerald and Deborah Mills prosecuted the case against Fisher.

Downstate man gets 85 years for murdering woman, dumping her body on Interstate 57 near Peotone

June 29

JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow announced Monday (June 29, 2009) that a man who shot a downstate woman and dumped her body on the side of Interstate 57 near Peotone has been sentenced to 85 years in prison.

Circuit Judge Daniel Rozak sentenced Delon Scott, 24, of Urbana, on Friday afternoon. Scott shot Cassondra Cawthon, of Champaign, three times and then dumped her body on the side of the highway on Oct. 8, 2007.

Cawthon, who was shot in the head and chest, was driving a vehicle in which Scott was a passenger when the shooting occurred. The vehicle veered off the road but did not crash. Several motorists on Interstate 57 witnessed the incident and called 911. Scott ran into a nearby field to dispose of the gun. By the time he returned, police already were on the scene, and he was arrested.

“Delon Scott is a cold-blooded murderer who gunned down an innocent woman at close range while she was driving her car. This act of ruthless violence and abject recklessness claimed the life of Cassondra Cawthon and jeopardized the safety of everyone on the highway,” State’s Attorney Glasgow said. “Judge Rozak’s strong sentence should bring a measure of justice to the victim’s family, and it guarantees that this depraved killer will spend the rest of his years in prison.”

The judge sentenced Scott to 60 years for the murder plus an additional 25 years for using a firearm to kill the victim. Scott must serve 100 percent of the sentence, which means he will be more than 100 years old before he is eligible for release.

Witnesses identified Scott as the man who had run from the vehicle. Investigators recovered the gun, a Colt .38 Detective Special, from the field. Ballistics tests linked the gun to one of the bullets retrieved from the victim’s body. In addition, blood from the victim was found on Scott’s pants.

During the trial, prosecutors played for the jury a videotaped interview of Scott during which he admitted to Illinois State Police special agents that he shot Cawthon. His motive was unclear.

Cawthon was heading home to Champaign after dropping off two of her children with one of the children’s godmother in Chicago. Scott was her traveling companion.

The state’s attorney applauded Assistant State’s Attorneys Jim Long, Adam Capelli and Daniel Walsh for their excellent trial work. He also praised Illinois State Police, Peotone Police and the Illinois State Police Crime Labs in Joliet and Chicago for conducting a first-rate investigation.

Will County State’s Attorney’s James Glasgow asks FBI to join investigation into Riley Fox murder

June 18

JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow was joined today by Robert D. Grant, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), in announcing that the FBI is assisting in the investigation of the murder of 3-year-old Riley Fox.

Discussions between the Will County State’s Attorney’s Office and the FBI regarding federal assistance in the investigation have been underway for 18 months. FBI agents have been reviewing investigative files for roughly a year.

On Wednesday afternoon, a team of FBI agents, assisted by investigators from the Will County State’s Attorney’s Office, conducted a canvass of the neighborhoods near where Riley Fox lived in Wilmington before she was killed in June 2004. During Wednesday’s sweep, the agents talked to neighbors and other potential witnesses in an effort to obtain new information and to revisit prior leads and evidence that might lead to the arrest of Riley’s killer.

The FBI agents also distributed fliers throughout Wilmington offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information that leads to the identification and arrest of the person or persons responsible for this crime.

“The FBI is bringing unprecedented resources and expertise to this investigation,” State’s Attorney Glasgow said. “It would be extremely difficult for a single local police agency to match the large number of highly trained law enforcement agents that the FBI sent to canvass Wilmington on Wednesday afternoon. In addition, the FBI will call upon the expertise of its highly regarded Behavioral Analysis Unit to assess the facts in this crime.”

In 2005, roughly a year after Riley’s murder, the Will County State’s Attorney’s Office assumed joint responsibility for the investigation in conjunction with a new team of investigators from the Will County Sheriff’s Department.

Since that time, local investigators have swabbed more than 70 individuals for DNA analysis, conducted more than 100 interviews and consulted extensively with national experts in a variety of fields including DNA and fingerprint analysis.

No significant finding in the investigation prompted the request for the FBI’s assistance. The FBI’s involvement will bring a fresh perspective to the case.

“The FBI’s assistance will greatly expand our investigative capabilities,” State’s Attorney Glasgow said. “We cannot allow this horrific crime against an innocent child to remain unsolved.”

Corrie Wallace sentenced to 88 years for 2006 murder

June 2

JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow announced that a Joliet man was to 88 years in prison on Tuesday for gunning down an unarmed man three years ago.

Corrie Wallace, 25, of the 300 block of North Chicago Street, Joliet, was found guilty of first-degree murder and aggravated battery with a firearm in October. 

Wallace shot and killed Hallie Parrish, who was with friends inside a vehicle in the 800 block of Robin Lane on the afternoon of March 1, 2006.

Wallace, who was wearing a black mask over his head at the time of the shooting, walked up to the passenger-side of the vehicle while firing a silver .45-caliber handgun. He fired at least nine rounds, several of which struck Parrish in the head and chest. Parrish was the driver; a passenger in the vehicle also was struck in the arm but survived the shooting.

“Corrie Wallace will spend the rest of his life in prison for this act of craven cowardice,” State’s Attorney Glasgow said. “This gutless killer gunned down a defenseless, unarmed man and then ran away leaving him to die. Only after he thought he had gotten away with murder did he return to the scene of the crime to brag about his callous exploits. The depraved boasting from his abandoned and malignant heart rightfully came back to convict him at trial.”

Circuit Judge Daniel Rozak said the shooting “could be more properly characterized as an assassination” before he sentenced Wallace to 45 years in prison for the first-degree murder charge. That sentence was automatically enhanced by 25 years because the jury found the defendant personally discharged the firearm during the murder. Judge Rozak also sentenced Wallace to an additional 18 years for aggravated battery with a firearm, bringing his total sentence to 88 years.

Under state sentencing regulations, Wallace must consecutively serve 100 percent of his murder sentence and 50 percent of his aggravated battery with a firearm sentence. Wallace will be eligible for parole in the year 2085, at which point he will be 101-years-old.

During the trial, witnesses placed Wallace at the scene. One witness saw Wallace return moments after the shooting wearing the same clothes he wore during the murder. Police recovered the mask Wallace wore during the shooting. DNA samples taken from the mask matched Wallace’s DNA. Ballistics evidence also linked him to the shooting.

Glasgow credited the thorough investigation by the Joliet Police Department and the skillful trial work of his prosecutors, Assistant State’s Attorneys Steve Platek and Michael Knick, for taking this dangerous killer off the streets.

“Joliet detectives and our prosecution team put in countless hours of work to make sure justice was served,” Glasgow said. “Scrupulous attention to detail, both on the streets and in the courtroom, left jurors absolutely no doubt that Corrie Wallace was guilty of this heinous murder.”

Update on the Drew Peterson Case

June 1

JOLIET – In response to the defense’s motion to substitute the judge in the Drew Peterson case, Chief Judge Gerald Kinney on Monday assigned the case to Circuit Judge Stephen White.

Judge White scheduled a hearing for 1:30 p.m., Wednesday, June 3 at the Will County Courthouse, 14 W. Jefferson St., Joliet. It appears at this moment that the hearing will be held in Courtroom 402.

The hearing will be on the prosecution’s motion to seal discovery filings and an anticipated objection to the state’s motion by the defense.

Mr. Peterson did appear in court this morning.

Will/Grundy Major Crimes Task Force announces ready status

May 26

JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow, Grundy County State’s Attorney Sheldon Sobol and Joliet Police Chief Fred Hayes announce that the Will/Grundy Major Crimes Task Force is ready to begin operations on June 1.

The new Major Crimes Task Force, which has been in the planning stages for nearly a year, is designed to direct critical police resources toward the investigation of a major crime, such as a mass shooting or a complex murder investigation, immediately after one occurs.

Thirty-six law enforcement agencies from throughout Will and Grundy counties as well as the FBI and the Illinois State Police will contribute staff and resources to the Task Force. From these agencies, 57 law enforcement officers, 14 of whom are crime scene technicians, will lend their skills and expertise to the new Task Force.

Bill Carlisle, a veteran detective from the Will County Sheriff’s Department, was selected by the Task Force’s Executive Board to serve as the Task Force’s commander. Carlisle has served with the Sheriff’s Department since 1986. He was appointed a sergeant in 1997 and a lieutenant in 2004. He is currently a lieutenant in the Sheriff’s Department’s Investigations Division.

Lieutenant Richard Demick, a veteran detective with the Joliet Police Department, will serve as the Task Force’s assistant commander. The Task Force’s Executive Board also named five division commanders: Ken Kroll, Scott Nicodemus, Jeffrey Lockard, Steven Talmontas and Richard Kowalski.

“Our goal is to direct as many police resources as possible toward an investigation immediately after a major crime is discovered,” said Joliet Police Chief Hayes, who chairs the Task Force’s Executive Board. “The first 48 hours are critical to these investigations. Once deployed, the Task Force will able to develop and follow up on leads quickly in an effort to bring an investigation to a swift and successful conclusion.”

Recent complex murder investigations in Will County prompted State’s Attorney Glasgow to begin coordinating with local police agencies to develop the Major Crimes Task Force. He noted, for example, that the Cook County-based South Suburban Major Crimes Task Force provided invaluable assistance to the Tinley Park Police Department after five women were shot to death inside a Lane Bryant store last year.

“The work the South Suburban Major Crimes Task Force performed significantly expanded Tinley Park’s investigative capabilities and will be instrumental in bringing a dangerous killer to justice,” Glasgow said. “Launching and coordinating an investigation of such magnitude could easily overwhelm the largest police department in any jurisdiction. Our new law enforcement cooperative will place these expert resources into the hands of every police department in Will and Grundy counties.”

State’s Attorney Sobol said: “This kind of resource-sharing is necessary to enhance the ability of our law enforcement agencies to solve major crimes and to protect our citizens. This Task Force will dramatically improve the way criminal investigations are conducted in both Will and Grundy counties without creating a financial burden on any taxpayer-funded police department.”

Police chiefs in both Will and Grundy counties embraced the concept and formed an Executive Board that developed the structure and bylaws for the new Task Force, which will be funded through fees paid by participating police departments. Investigator salaries will be paid for by their own departments while they are assisting the Task Force. The Task Force, however, will provide equipment such as computers, uniforms and badges.

Participating law enforcement agencies are from Beecher, Bolingbrook, Braidwood, Channahon, Coal City, Crest Hill, Crete, Elwood, the FBI, Frankfort, the Grundy County Sheriff’s Office, the Grundy County State’s Attorney, the Illinois State Police, Joliet Junior College, Joliet, Lockport, Lockport Township, Manhattan, Minooka, Mokena, Monee, Morris, New Lenox, Peotone, Plainfield, Rockdale, Romeoville, Shorewood, Steger, Tinley Park, University Park, the Will County Coroner, the Will County Forest Preserve, the Will County Sheriff’s Office, the Will County State’s Attorney and Wilmington.

Mokena man charged with first-degree murder in connection with stabbing of 4-year-old girl

May 23

JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow announced that a first-degree murder charge has been filed against a man accused of stabbing to death his 4-year-old half-sister.

Keith T. Randulich, 18, of 19433 York Drive, appeared in Will County Circuit Court on Saturday morning where Associate Judge Bobbi Petrungaro, at the request of prosecutors, set bond at $10 million. Randulich must post 10 percent, or $1 million, to secure his release while he awaits trial.

Mokena police, responding to a 911 call at 7:54 p.m., Friday, May 22, found the body of Sabrina A. Clement in the basement of her home at 19433 York Drive. Randulich was taken in for an interview with Mokena detectives that evening.

Mokena police arrested Randulich in the early-morning hours Saturday after the Will County State’s Attorney’s Office approved charges of first-degree murder. He was booked into the Will County Jail.

The Will County Sheriff’s Department assisted in the investigation. Commander Dan Rankovich led the investigation for the Mokena Police Department.

The case remains under investigation. No further details will be released Saturday. There is no press conference scheduled for Saturday regarding this investigation.

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.

Will County State’s Attorney Glasgow, Grundy County State’s Attorney Sobol, Joliet Police Chief Fred Hayes announce launch of Major Crimes Task Force

WHAT:Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow, Grundy County State’s Attorney Sheldon Sobol and Joliet Police Chief Fred Hayes will announce the launch of the new Will/Grundy Major Crimes Task Force.
WHEN: 11 a.m., Tuesday, May 26, 2009
WHERE:Joliet Police Department
150 W. Washington Street
Joliet, IL 60432