Joliet man sentenced to 25 years in prison for savage beating of his girlfriend and her father

March 24

JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow announced Tuesday (March 24, 2009) that a Joliet man who savagely beat his girlfriend and her father last year was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Armando Jacobo, 23, was found guilty of attempted first-degree murder and aggravated battery of a senior citizen by Associate Judge Robert Livas at the conclusion of a bench trial in January.

Jacobo brutally beat Jennifer Gutierrez and her father, Juan Gutierrez, in the early-morning hours of April 26, 2008.

Jacobo and Jennifer Gutierrez had gotten into a fight while they were out the prior evening. Jacobo dropped Jennifer Gutierrez at home, but returned later and began to beat and kick both her and her father.

The extended beating was so severe that Jennifer Gutierrez’s eyes were swollen shut and her lip was ripped from her face, requiring plastic surgery. Jacobo also beat her with a tree branch in her backyard.

Juan Gutierrez, who was at his daughter’s house to protect her from Jacobo, suffered a broken ankle and severe brain injuries that required surgery. He also lost his front teeth in the attack. He continues to suffer from dizzy spells, and he told the court Tuesday that he refuses to smile because he is embarrassed by his missing teeth.

“This was a savage attack by a coward who is devoid of even the slightest sense of empathy or compassion for others,” State’s Attorney Glasgow said. “Our streets will be safer while Jacobo is serving a lengthy prison sentence for this brutal beating.”

Judge Livas, in handing down the sentence, described the case as “one of the most vicious attacks on two human beings I’ve ever seen.” The judge said Jacobo showed no mercy during the beating, and that he could expect none at sentencing.

Glasgow credited the first-rate investigation by the Joliet Police Department and skillful trial work by his prosecutors, Assistant State’s Attorneys Kathy Patton and Frank Byers, with putting this dangerous criminal behind bars.

State’s Attorney’s Office offering presentations to help senior citizens protect against financial scams, identity theft

March 10

JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow reminds the public that his Division of Crime Prevention is available to present informational seminars to senior citizens on how to shield themselves against financial scams and identity theft.

The Division of Crime Prevention has talked with hundreds of senior citizens at nursing homes, senior citizen expos and churches across Will County to provide important information on how they can protect themselves from common scams and identity theft.

Veteran police investigators and other experts from State’s Attorney Glasgow’s office are available to answer questions, distribute educational materials and explain how to avoid falling victim to financial predators who want to steal the life savings of elderly people.

Pete Piazza, chief investigator for the Will County State’s Attorney’s Office, leads many of the presentations and provides seniors with detailed information on how to guard against scammers.

State’s Attorney Glasgow also formed a Financial Crimes Prosecution Unit in 2008 that specializes in untangling complex cases of financial exploitation, identity theft and loan fraud that target vulnerable elderly citizens.

In one instance, the unit worked with the Illinois Attorney General’s Office to help an 83-year-old woman regain access to her life savings after she was convinced by a financial planner to tie up her money in a 10-year annuity with heavy penalties for early withdrawal. The case was resolved without criminal charges; the money was returned to the woman and the annuity was canceled without penalty.

The Financial Crimes Prosecution can assist those who have fallen victim to scams. But Glasgow noted that senior citizens who attend presentations by the law enforcement experts in his office receive important information that makes them less vulnerable to unscrupulous predators.

“I formed the Financial Crimes Prosecution Unit to crack down on swindlers who try to take advantage of senior citizens,” Glasgow said. “But the best way to fight off con artists is through prevention. The informational seminars that my office provides give seniors the tools they need to keep their life savings secure.”

For information on arranging a presentation for your senior citizen group, church club, retirement community or any other civic organization, contact the Director of Crime Prevention at (815) 727-8742.

The Division of Crime Prevention also can arrange for presentations on gang awareness, Internet safety, Character Education, teen drug and alcohol awareness and domestic violence prevention strategies.

Naperville Exchange Club gives $7,000 grant to the Will County Children’s Advocacy Center

March 10

JOLIET – The Naperville Exchange Club recently gave the Will County Children’s Advocacy Center a $7,000 grant to assist in the fight against child sexual abuse.

Sean Kelley, a representative of the Naperville Exchange Club and a member of the organization’s Allocation Committee, presented the grant to Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow during a recent meeting of the Will County Children’s Advocacy Center Board.

The grant will enable the center’s professionally trained staff to continue conducting forensic interviews of children who are the victims of sexual abuse. The children’s statements, which are recorded in a non-suggestive, non-threatening environment, have been used in the successful prosecution of hundreds of sexual predators over the past decade.

State’s Attorney Glasgow, who established the Children’s Advocacy Center in 1995, thanked the Naperville Exchange Club members for a generous contribution that recognizes the important work the staff performs on behalf of vulnerable children. The center is a 501-c-3 non-profit organization that relies solely on grants, local funding, foundations and fundraisers to operate.

“I can’t thank the Naperville Exchange Club enough for its consistent support of the Will County Children’s Advocacy Center and its critical mission,” Glasgow said. “The center has dramatically improved the way allegations of child sexual abuse are investigated. Since its formation in 1995, we have seen a dramatic increase in the number of convictions against dangerous sexual predators.”

The Will County Children’s Advocacy Center also is a member of both United Way of Will County and United Way of Grundy County. For more information, contact The Will County Children’s Advocacy Center at (815) 774-4565, or visit the Web site at

Guilty plea in 1989 stabbing death of Anna Sanders; Cold Case Task Force solved 20-year-old unsolved murder

March 5

JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow announced a guilty plea in a 20-year-old murder case that was cracked last year by the State’s Attorney’s Office’s and the Joliet Police Department’s combined Cold Case Task Force.

Terrance Cole, 38, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder on Thursday (March 5, 2009) in connection with the brutal 1989 stabbing death of Anna Sanders.

The defendant also pleaded guilty on Thursday to an unrelated home invasion from 2005 – a case that also was solved by the Cold Case Task Force.

Cole, who entered a blind plea of guilty in the murder case, faces up to 60 years in prison when he is sentenced by Circuit Judge Amy Bertani-Tomczak on April 9. He faces up to an additional 12 years in prison in the home invasion case.

The Cold Case Task Force, a partnership between the Joliet Police Department and the Will County State’s Attorney’s office, was established in 2005 through a $455,000 federal grant from the National Institute of Justice. The grant provided funding for DNA testing and for the Joliet Police Department to pay investigators and evidence technicians overtime to review unsolved cases. It also provided funding for an assistant state’s attorney and a victim advocate. 

“The grant-funded Cold Case Task Force capitalized on advances in DNA technology to build a case and secure a conviction against this vicious and sadistic murderer,” State’s Attorney Glasgow said. “Equally important was the dedication and vigilance on the part of the Joliet detectives who refused to let such a violent homicide go unsolved.”

Cole was charged in February 2008 with first-degree murder for stabbing Anna Sanders to death in her apartment on or about April 10, 1989. The victim, who suffered multiple stab wounds, was found on the floor of her third-floor apartment by a building worker.

Cole was linked to the murder through DNA evidence collected from the crime scene. The DNA was found under the victim’s fingernails, on a cigarette butt collected at the scene and on hairs found on the victim’s nightgown.

The Cold Case Task Force also connected Cole to the home invasion that occurred on June 12, 2005 through DNA samples taken from a beer can found inside the house. In that case, Cole struck an elderly man after sneaking through the open overhead door of his attached garage on Joliet’s West Side.

Joliet Detective Phil Valera investigated the home invasion and murder cases. Assistant State’s Attorney Michael Fitzgerald reviewed the murder case prior to charging. Fitzgerald and Assistant State’s Attorneys Frank Byers and Daniel Walsh were preparing to prosecute Cole at a trial scheduled to begin on Monday when the defendant entered his guilty plea.

The Cold Case Task Force also solved the 1994 murder of Linda Dooley, who was found shot to death in her car outside a hotel parking lot in Joliet. This murder happened in broad daylight shortly after she had left a local department store. DNA evidence collected at the scene linked a drifter, Percy E. Cooksey III, to the crime. Cooksey died in a Missouri prison while serving time for an unrelated crime.

Downstate man guilty of murdering woman, dumping her body on Interstate 57 near Peotone

February 27

JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow announced Friday (Feb. 27, 2009) that a man who shot a downstate woman and dumped her body on the side of Interstate 57 near Peotone was found guilty of first-degree murder.

Delon Scott, 24, of Urbana, faces 45 years to life in prison when he is sentenced by Circuit Judge Daniel Rozak on May 4.

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.

Witnesses who testified during the five-day trial included an off-duty Metra police officer, a truck driver from Arkansas and a passing motorist. The 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 for the trip.

State’s Attorney Glasgow applauded Assistant State’s Attorneys Jim Long, Adam Capelli and Daniel Walsh for securing a guilty verdict that will put a dangerous man in prison. He also praised Illinois State Police, Peotone Police and the Illinois State Police Crime Labs in Joliet and Chicago for conducting a top-notch investigation.

Crest Hill man found guilty of 2002 rape; faces up to 120 years in prison at sentencing

February 5

JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow announced that a Crest Hill man has been found guilty of raping a young woman in 2002. 

John R. Pitts Jr., 43, of 1521 Pioneer Road, was found guilty Wednesday (Feb. 4) of three counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault. He faces between 48 and 120 years in prison when he is sentenced by Circuit Judge Amy Bertani-Tomczak on April 15. He cannot receive probation.

The young woman testified that Pitts attacked her while she was walking to work along Mississippi Avenue around 5:30 am on December 5, 2002. The victim said 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. 

The victim was treated at Silver Cross Hospital. DNA samples collected from the victim when she was treated at the hospital matched Pitts’ DNA profile and conclusively linked him to the attack.

During the trial, Assistant State’s Attorneys Michael Fitzgerald and Tricia McKenna also presented a videotaped statement Pitts made to Joliet Police in 2006 in which he admitted to attacking the young woman “out of impulse.” 

“This was a vicious and cowardly attack by a knife-wielding predator on an unarmed woman,” State’s Attorney Glasgow said. “Thanks to a top-notch investigation by the Joliet Police Department and excellent trial work by my two prosecutors, John Pitts will spend most if not all of his life in prison where he can’t harm another woman.”

Will County Children’s Advocacy Center looking for men who know their way around the kitchen for cooking competition

JOLIET – The Will County Children’s Advocacy Center this year has cooked up an entirely new event to raise funding necessary to fulfill its critical mission of protecting our children.

The Children’s Advocacy Center is asking men in the community to don their chef’s hats and prepare their favorite dishes for the upcoming “Men Who Cook” fund raiser from 6-8 p.m. March 21 at Republic Hall, 113 Republic in Joliet.

“Men Who Cook” will be a casual event featuring local men who prepare and offer up for judging bite-sized samples of their favorite dishes. Tim Reilly, owner of Babe’s Hot Dogs, will emcee the competition.

If you’re a guy who can do more in the kitchen than warm up frozen fish sticks in the microwave, then put your favorite homemade entree, side dish, appetizer or dessert up for consideration. The Children’s Advocacy Center also is looking for local businesses and organizations to sponsor “Men Who Cook.”

The center, which was established by Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow in 1995 to improve the way child sexual abuse cases are investigated, has more than a dozen spaces open for male cooks with a competitive streak.

“The Children’s Advocacy Center deals daily with the serious problems of child abuse,” said State’s Attorney Glasgow. “This year’s “Men Who Cook” competition offers everyone a chance to have some fun while they support an important cause.” 

The center’s staff performs child-sensitive interviews when there are allegations of sexual or severe physical abuse. These interviews are conducted by trained and caring professionals in a non-suggestive, child-friendly environment. The children’s recorded statements have been used in the successful prosecution of hundreds of sexual predators.

The state’s attorney founded the center as a 501-c-3 non-profit organization so it would not impact Will County taxpayers. As a result, the center has relied on grants, foundations and fund raisers like “Men Who Cook” to operate.

The cost to taste bite-sized samples of fine cuisine at “Men Who Cook” is $35 per person; $60 per couple.

Local men who will put their culinary skills to the test include: Detective Sgt. Tom Quillman of the Joliet Police Department; newly minted County Auditor Duffy Blackburn; Detective Dave Margliano of the Will County State’s Attorney’s Office; Jim McFarland of the Joliet Exchange Club; and Steve Larranga of Joliet Litho Print.

Organizations that already have agreed to sponsor the event include IBEW Local 176, Northern Illinois Steel, the Joliet Exchange Club, T.J. Lambrecht Construction and City Beverage.

For details on participating as a cook or a sponsorship, please call the Will County Children’s Advocacy Center at (815) 774-4565. Or you can visit the center on the Web at

Thirteen kick addictions, graduate from Will County Drug Court

January 26

JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow announced that the Will County Drug Court has helped another 13 people break their addictions and avoid criminal charges stemming from their drug abuse.

The 13 former abusers graduated from the Will County Drug Court last week (Thursday, Jan. 22, 2009). Since 2000, 217 people have graduated from drug court and have reclaimed their lives. The program boasts a 90-percent success rate, which means that fewer than 10 percent of its graduates commit new offenses. 

State’s Attorney Glasgow spearheaded the creation of the Will County Drug Court in the late 1990s. Drug court helps abusers who committed non-violent criminal offenses kick their addictions and return to their community as productive, tax-paying citizens. 

“Our drug court is a success on multiple fronts,” Glasgow said. “We’re working with people whose lives were driven and devastated by their drug addictions, and we’re helping them become productive members of their community rather than a drain on society. And for each dollar we spend on a prevention program like drug court, we can save ten times the money in remedial costs.”

Circuit Judge Carla Alessio Policandriotes, who presides over drug court, said that by 2011 the program will have saved taxpayers a projected $14.3 million in remedial costs that include jailing defendants rather than providing treatment for their addictions. Those savings are based upon the projected number of people who will have gone through the program. It costs only $3,000 to put an individual through drug court.

“Defendants who enter this program don’t receive free “Get Out of Jail” cards,” Judge Policandriotes said. “Drug court requires strong commitments by participants who are willing to work to kick their addictions and turn their lives around. But when they graduate, they have the necessary tools to stay clean and achieve their goals in life.” 

In drug court, prosecutors and defense attorneys work with the judge and treatment providers to help abusers kick their addictions. The program is a cost-effective alternative to dumping non-violent drug offenders into state prisons, where they cycle in and out of the system.

Defendants allowed into the program are carefully screened. They must remain drug free, submit to random drug tests, find employment, follow through with treatment and attend weekly drug court sessions if they are to graduate.

For more information on Will County Drug Court, go to the Will County State’s Attorney’s Office Web site at and click on Crime Prevention.

Joliet man found guilty of murdering 23-year-old neighbor

January 16

JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow announced that a Joliet man has been found guilty of first-degree murder in the 2006 death of his neighbor, 23-year-old Regina Delosantos.

Hugo Sanchez, 23, of 503 Krakar Ave, broke into Regina Delosantos’ home on Sept. 9, 2006 and brutally strangled and stabbed her to death while her husband was at work.

Bruises found on the victim’s body and scratches on the defendant’s arms show that Delosantos fought for her life before she was strangled with her own shirt and stabbed five times in the face and neck with a knife from her own kitchen. 

The jury deliberated for an hour before finding Sanchez guilty. He faces up to 60 years in prison when he is sentenced by Circuit Judge Amy Bertani-Tomczak on March 27.

DNA evidence retrieved from under Delosantos’ fingernails conclusively linked Sanchez to the murder scene. Sanchez, who lived across the street from the victim, also had scratches on his arms from struggling with Delosantos.

Additional DNA evidence retrieved from the crime scene shows that a second individual was present during the murder. The second individual, who sexually assaulted Delosantos, has not yet been identified. The attackers also stole her wallet that contained $100.

“Hugo Sanchez committed an act of unspeakable brutality against a woman who tried in vain to fight off her attackers,” State’s Attorney Glasgow said. “Her life ended in a nightmare of pain and fear. But her final struggle left police and prosecutors with the physical evidence they needed to take this monster off our streets.”

Glasgow applauded Assistant State’s Attorneys Michael Fitzgerald and Nicole Moore, for their top-notch prosecution. He also credited the thorough investigation conducted by the Joliet Police Department with bringing this dangerous murderer to justice.

Man gets three years in prison for possession of child pornography

January 8

JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announce that a former volunteer band instructor from Naperville Central High School was sentenced to three years in prison today (Thursday, Jan. 8, 2009) for possessing pornographic digital images of a 15-year-old girl.

Mark Bernal 35, of Chicago, pleaded guilty on Nov. 7 in front of Circuit Judge Daniel Rozak to three counts of possession of child pornography. As part of his sentence, Bernal also must register as a sex offender for the remainder of his life.

Bernal arranged to have pornographic photographs of the teen-ager taken, but he did not shoot the images himself. The images were retrieved from his digital camera in February 2005.

The case was jointly prosecuted by State’s Attorney Glasgow’s Computer Crimes Unit and Attorney General Madigan’s office.

State’s Attorney Glasgow thanked the victim and her family for their courage and cooperation in the investigation and prosecution of this difficult case.

“Through their persistence and resolve, we are able to protect society by putting this predator behind bars,” State’s Attorney Glasgow said. “Bernal also will be placed permanently on the public sex offender registry so concerned parents can take the necessary steps to protect their children in the future.”

“Individuals like Bernal pose particular dangers because they betray the trust of parents, school officials and, most importantly, our children,” Attorney General Madigan said. “I am pleased that we could work collaboratively with Will County officials to put him behind bars.”

The case against Bernal was prosecuted by Will County Assistant State’s Attorney John Connor and Illinois Assistant Attorney General Dan Spillman.