Spaces still available for law enforcement self-defense training

October 31

JOLIET – Spaces are still available for the specialized self-defense training for law enforcement officers on Nov. 5-6 at the Illinois State Rifle Association Shooting Range near Kankakee.

The training is offered free to law enforcement officers through a partnership between Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow and the Illinois State Crime Commission (ISCC).

Training involves the Krav Maga self-defense system. The sessions will feature hand-to-hand combat and tactical self-defense training as well as close-quarter handgun defense training and an introduction to the AR15 tactical assault rifle.

Krav Maga is the official self-defense system of the Israeli Defense Forces and has been taught to hundreds of law enforcement agencies across the United States. The simple, effective self-defense system emphasizes instinctive movements, practical techniques and realistic training scenarios. Krav Maga training complies with use-of-force standards for police officers in the United States.

The training will be conducted by self-defense specialists from Israeli Combat Krav Maga based in Indianapolis. The instructional staff consists of sworn law enforcement officers.

The Illinois State Crime Commission was established in 1994 and operates as a tax exempt charitable organization.  Its goal is to offer creative legislative solutions and assist law enforcement agencies to prevent crime in our communities through a unique blend of awareness and activities.

For information or to enroll, contact the Will County State’s Attorney’s Office at (815) 723-1630.

Highly specialized Mental Health Court to hold first graduation ceremony on November 1

October 26

JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow and Chief Judge Gerald Kinney announce that two people will be the first to graduate from the Will County Mental Health Court Program.

A graduation ceremony is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, November 1 at the Will County Office Building, 302 N. Chicago Street. The public is invited to attend.

State’s Attorney Glasgow and Judge Kinney established Mental Health Court in 2010 to provide judicial monitoring and treatment services to qualifying criminal defendants who suffer from mental illnesses.

Mental Health Court’s mission is to provide comprehensive mental health and addiction services as well as therapeutic judicial intervention through a team approach to defendants with severe mental illnesses or co-occurring disorders.  The goal is to protect the public and improve the quality of life for defendants. Graduation is the final step in a program that provides comprehensive mental health services including therapy, case management, participation in psycho-social rehabilitation groups, drug testing and sanctions when appropriate.

“Successfully completing Mental Health Court is a major step in the lives of these individuals,” said State’s Attorney Glasgow. “Our court system’s primary directives are to administer justice and protect the public. In our highly specialized Mental Health Court, we also provide defendants with the tools they need to manage their conditions. The entire community benefits when these graduates can hold jobs, pursue educations and pay taxes.” 

Each potential defendant is carefully screened before being admitted to Mental Health Court. Anyone who has been convicted of or charged with first-degree murder, second-degree murder, a sex offense, armed robbery, arson, kidnapping, stalking or any offense involving the discharge of a firearm is barred from participation. Defendants charged with other crimes may not be allowed to participate depending upon the unique circumstances of their individual cases.

To be eligible for Mental Health Court, candidates must be diagnosed as having a mental disorder or a co-occurring disorder, the latter of which is a mental illness combined with an addiction. 

The Mental Health Court team assists participants in understanding how managing their condition can keep them from engaging in criminal activity and eliminate their negative contacts with local police. The process involves improving their relationships with family members and friends who can provide them with important support.

Mental Health Courts were inspired by the success of other problem-solving courts, including Drug Courts and Domestic Violence Courts. The first Mental Health Court began in 1997.

Man gets 30 years in prison for attempted murder

October 24

JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow announced that a Chicago man on Monday was sentenced to 30 years in prison for attempted murder for the 2008 shooting of a Joliet man who was standing in his driveway.

Arturo Romero, 21, also was convicted of aggravated battery with a firearm and aggravated discharge of a firearm.

Romero and several others had an altercation with the victim’s two sons outside their Joliet house on the evening of Oct. 12, 2008.

Shortly before midnight, Romero returned to the residence and fired a .45-caliber semiautomatic handgun at the victim as he stood on his own driveway. Romero struck the victim in the elbow and in the ankle. He fired again as the man attempted to crawl away, striking him in the thigh and grazing his chest. 

The victim survived and identified Romero from a photo lineup nearly two weeks later. Police retrieved the weapon after questioning Romero’s friends, who testified against the defendant. Ballistics testing on the casings retrieved from the crime scene showed they matched that weapon.

“Arturo Romero is a brutal street thug who continued firing on a wounded, unarmed man as he tried to crawl away from this assailant,” said State’s Attorney Glasgow. “He is a vicious criminal who deserves every single minute he will spend in prison.”

The State’s Attorney thanked prosecutors Chris Koch and Jessica Colon-Sayre for their excellent work securing a conviction and sentence that takes Romero off the streets. The State’s Attorney also credited the Joliet Police Department for its first-rate investigation.

Two other defendants pleaded guilty to their roles in the shooting earlier this year. David Hensley, 21, was sentenced to 13 years for solicitation to commit aggravated discharge of a firearm. Roberto Flores, 20, was sentenced to eight years for aggravated discharge of a firemarm. They both testified against Romero at trial.

State’s Attorney Glasgow joins Illinois State Crime Commission in providing specialized law enforcement self-defense training

October 11

JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow is partnering with the Illinois State Crime Commission (ISCC) to provide highly specialized self-defense training for law enforcement officers starting in November.

State’s Attorney Glasgow and the Crime Commission, under the leadership of Executive Director Jerry Elsner, will offer free training in the Krav Maga self-defense system to law enforcement officers throughout the region.

The first in a series of two-day training sessions will be held on Saturday, Nov. 5 and Sunday, Nov. 6 at the Illinois State Rifle Association Shooting Range near Kankakee. The sessions will feature hand-to-hand combat and tactical self-defense training as well as close-quarter handgun defense training and an introduction to the AR15 tactical assault rifle.

Krav Maga is the official self-defense system of the Israeli Defense Forces and has been taught to hundreds of law enforcement agencies across the United States. The simple, effective self-defense system emphasizes instinctive movements, practical techniques and realistic training scenarios.

Krav Maga training is adapted to comply with use-of-force standards for police officers in the United States. The training is updated in consultation with use-of-force experts – including district attorneys, police liability defense lawyers, police administrators and defensive tactics instructors – to provide effective, defensible applications of reasonable force.

The November training in Kankakee will be conducted by self-defense specialists from Israeli Combat Krav Maga based in Indianapolis. The instructional staff consists of sworn law enforcement officers. They will teach fellow officers to quickly stop problems and take swift and safe control of dangerous situations.  Officer safety and public safety are paramount.

“Police officers on the streets today are facing a callous, hyper-violence that was unthinkable 20 years ago,” said State’s Attorney Glasgow. “Threats to public safety are constantly evolving in this age of instant technology and terrorism on both the domestic and global stages. The specialized training we will provide through the Illinois State Crime Commission will enhance the safety of our officers as they protect our citizens in the most dangerous situations.”

“We must be proactive in law enforcement, and this is hardcore, proactive training,” said ISCC Executive Director Elsner. “We won’t be sparring on mats in a gymnasium or shooting at cardboard targets. We’ll be training out in the field and dealing with real-life situations.”

The Illinois State Crime Commission was established in 1994 and operates as a tax exempt charitable organization.  Its goal is to offer creative legislative solutions and assist law enforcement agencies to prevent crime in our communities through a unique blend of awareness and activities.

Spaces available for the November training sessions are limited. Future training sessions will be added. For information or to enroll, contact the Will County State’s Attorney’s Office at (815) 723-1630.


Charles B. Pelkie

(815) 727-8789

(815) 530-7110 (cellular)

Will County Drug Court awarded $200,000 federal grant to combat rise in heroin addictions

October 5

JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow announced that the federal government has awarded the Will County Drug Court a $200,000 grant to provide critical resources for the treatment and rehabilitation of those struggling with heroin addictions. 

The grant was awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, which falls under the U.S. Department of Justice. Grant funding will enable Drug Court to increase the number of non-violent offenders with heroin addictions who are allowed into the program.

Will County is experiencing a rise in heroin use that law enforcement and public health officials have described as an epidemic. The Will County Coroner’s Office reports that 26 people died from heroin overdoses in 2010; the number of fatal heroin overdoses already has risen to 21 this year with three months left in the year.

Will County Drug Court reports that 45 percent of its clients indicate that heroin is their primary addiction. This represents an increase of 14 percentage points from 2009.

“We refuse to let the rise in heroin use undercut our Drug Court’s ability to assist addicts who want to reclaim their lives,” State’s Attorney Glasgow said. “The funding we receive through this federal grant will enable us to enroll a greater number of participants who struggle with heroin addiction and provide them with the more intensive treatment services necessary to free them from this insidious drug.”

The state’s attorney also has joined Will County Executive Larry Walsh, Coroner Pat O’Neil and Sheriff Paul Kaupas in the development of a public service initiative (HELPS – Heroin Education Leads to Preventative Solutions) aimed at discouraging young people from trying heroin.

The Will County Drug Court began in 1999 and has helped more than 250 participants clean up their lives. Drug Court integrates defendants back into the community by helping them kick the addictions that drove them to commit non-violent criminal offenses.

Defendants plead guilty upfront with an agreement charges will be dropped if they complete the program and stay clean. Defendants must remain drug free, submit to random drug tests, find work, follow through with treatment and attend weekly sessions if they are to graduate.

Federal grant funds will enable Drug Court to expand the drug testing and monitoring of participants with heroin addictions. It also will provide day programming to heroin users, including education, recovery support, relapse prevention, nutrition, vocational testing, job skills, and parenting skills. The expanded program also will feature greater opportunities for residential treatment, medication-assisted therapy and support for housing.

Glasgow noted that programs like Drug Court are a value for local taxpayers. For each dollar spent on a prevention program like Drug Court, the state saves ten times the money compared to the costs of prosecuting and incarcerating non-violent offenders.

Petition for Leave to Appeal filed today with Illinois Supreme Court in People v. Drew Peterson

August 26

SPRINGFIELD – The Will County State’s Attorney’s Office today filed a Petition for Leave to Appeal with the Illinois Supreme Court in People v. Drew Peterson. The petition was filed under seal to prevent potential jurors from hearing material facts and evidence in the case, thereby protecting the defendant’s right to a fair trial.

The Will County State’s Attorney’s Office strongly disagrees with the Third District Appellate Court’s decision in July not to rule on the merits of its 2010 appeal in People v. Drew Peterson. As a result, the State’s Attorney’s Office is respectfully asking the Illinois Supreme Court to accept this appeal and rule on its merits.

Governor signs ‘Rebecca’s Law’; State’s Attorney Glasgow, Sen. Holmes, Rep. Cross work together to hike penalties for the most violent abusers

August 22

SPRINGFIELD – Legislation that was sponsored by Illinois State Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) and State Representative Tom Cross (R-Oswego) and drafted by Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow that strengthens penalties for abusers who torture their victims was signed into over the weekend by the governor.

The law, which bears the name of a Joliet resident who fell victim to two days of torture and beating at the hands of her then-husband, increases prison sentences for battery cases involving torture to a minimum of 4 years and a maximum of 15 years and enhances the offense to a Class 1 felony from a Class 3 felony.

Over a period of two days in July 2009, Rebecca Mercado was held hostage in her own home by her then-husband. He beat her repeatedly with a metal broom and a piece of wood until she passed out from the torture and abuse. Her abuser was sentenced to just four-and-a-half years in prison, which was nearly the maximum penalty allowed under state law at the time.

Mercado’s case inspired State’s Attorney Glasgow to contact Senator Holmes and Minority House Leader Tom Cross to help fill a gap in the state’s aggravated battery law.

“Rebecca suffered her husband’s constant physical violence for two days while her three young children were in the house,” State’s Attorney Glasgow said. “Her case cried out for greater penalties. Anyone who would inflict this kind of torture on another person deserves a stronger prison sentence. Thanks to Rebecca, Senator Holmes and Representative Cross, we are helping protect battered women by increasing prison sentences for the most violent abusers.”

Aggravated battery was previously listed a Class 3 felony, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison. Due to the seriousness of the injuries and the fact that her three children were in the house during the beating, the judge handed down nearly the maximum sentence. 

“After Rebecca’s story was brought to my attention, I knew something had to be done strengthen penalties for this type of torture and abuse,” Senator Holmes said. “Previous law classified this crime as only a Class 3 felony, which was equal to being charged with possession of methamphetamine. The type of abuse and torture Rebecca went through warranted a stronger penalty.”

Rep. Cross said: “This is a case of a crime victim coming forward and wanting to change the laws so the next victim has more options than she did, going forward. Rebecca has extreme courage and character to turn a truly awful situation into a story of survival and fighting back – for future victims.”

VICTIM IMPACT STATEMENT: Indiana man sentenced to 17 years for stalking ex-girlfriend after standoff, gunfire with Will County Sheriff’s Deputies

Indiana man sentenced to 17 years for stalking ex-girlfriend after standoff, gunfire with Will County Sheriff’s Deputies

Richard Petrick

Richard Petrick

In 2007, my relationship with Richard Petrick ended.  In September of 2009, I received a phone call from Richard Petrick and he stated something very, very bad was going to happen to me. I wouldn’t know where or when but something very bad was going to happen to me. Richard Petrick was a man of his word that day.  

I immediately called the police and was told to go to court the next day and get an emergency order of protection.  I received that order the next day.  From that moment on I lived in fear.  I feared what he would do when he was served with the order of protection.  When he was served I found out that Richard and I would have to attend court together in order for me to keep the order of protection.  I was scared to death to face him.  I brought my mom with me to court.  Once we checked into the court room Richard Petrick tried to communicate with me.  The Judge’s clerk told him he would have to leave me alone.  Two more times he tried to approach my mom and me and then was escorted out of the courtroom by the Judge’s clerk and told not to come in until he was called in.  After the Judge explained to Richard Petrick that he should not contact me in any way … he said he understood.  At that point, the Judge dismissed the order of protection.  As we walked away from the Judge, Richard sat down right next to me and started to try to communicate with me.  The Judge then called Richard Petrick back up to the stand and let him know that she had just explained to him to leave me alone.  She could see first hand that this was not going to happen and the order of protection was then granted.  The Judge had my mom and I escorted to our car by a sheriff for safety purposes … keeping Richard Petrick in her courtroom until we left.  

This behavior only cemented my thoughts that he would not leave me alone.  I was always fearful for myself, my daughter and my mom.  I was for once grateful that my son lived out of town.   Always checking the car before I got in and constantly looking over my shoulder.  For one whole year I didn’t drive with my car windows open, take my dog for daily walks (as I did before) or even grill out on my patio.  I was too scared to be outside.  While these things might seem trivial to some people … these simple things can be taken for granted when you go without them.  The first time I took a long walk with my dog in the backyard … I cried with happiness.  I felt free again.  

Richard continued to call, e-mail and text me.  Each time I would call the police and have a police report filled out.  It was a constant reminder of his words, something very, very bad will happen to you … you won’t know where or when but something very, very bad will happen to you.  He also called my mom asking her where I was and who I was with.  She was terrified and I was terrified for her safety.

In February, Richard drove to my house, got out of his vehicle and started walking up my driveway.  I immediately called the police.  He left before they could get there.  Again, I filled out a police report.  While filling out the report, Richard drove by the house again.  The police tried to drive after him but didn’t catch him.   Later that evening, the police found Richard parked across the street from my house.  He had two rifles, a BB gun, a knife, binoculars and what the police called an arsenal of ammunition.  They arrested him.  He was out of jail the next day.  I was also informed by the police that he was staying at a nearby hotel before the arrest and again after he was released from jail.  The police suggested getting an alarm system which I did.  Now my daughter and I were in constant fear of him.  

When I walked up the train platform everyday to go to work, I wondered if he would shoot me in the back today or, even worse in my mind, shoot innocent people.  I have worked at the same place of employment for 30 years.  I now had to tell my place of employment that I was afraid he might come to work.  They notified security and our front desk.  I feared for the people that I have worked with for 30 years … an extended part of my family.   I wondered if he would hurt one of them or if he would be waiting for me outside my office to kill me.  I was usually a very private person but now, for everyone’s safety, I had to let them know my personal business.  The receptionists knew Richard’s voice and would tell me that he was calling them and asking if I was in.  This was a daily occurrence.   

Sometime in March, when I walked out my front door at 6:00 a.m., a car I did not recognize pulled into my driveway.  It was Richard.  I didn’t realize it was him at first because of the different car but was then able to recognize his face.  I ran inside, called the police and filled out a police report.  The very next day, as I turned the corner of my block, he was sitting in that same car, slouched down and he started following me.  I drove straight to the police station.  I was afraid to go to the train and afraid to go home.  I didn’t know if he would be waiting for me or where I could be safe. 

On the morning of April 9, 2010, I went to take the dog outside and when I opened the door I could smell cigarette smoke.  While the dog usually darted outside … on this particular morning she stood still and didn’t move.  I looked out and saw Richard Petrick hiding in the bushes.  I ran back in the house and hit every panic button on my security alarm, medical, fire, police.  At the same time I was trying to dial 911 on my phone but my hands were shaking so badly I just threw it.  Within minutes I heard a loud explosion and then Richard Petrick was standing next to me, pointing a gun at me telling me he was going to kill me.  All I could think of was that my daughter was sleeping in the other room.  If I could only run out of the house … he will follow me and leave her alone.  The whole time I ran to the door and down the front porch he screamed at me that he was going to kill me.  I knew in my heart of hearts that he was going to shoot me in the back and I was okay with that … as long as my daughter would be safe.  Just as I was running across the street the police showed up.  The police officer raised his gun and ordered Richard to stop and drop his gun.  Richard told the officer that he wasn’t the guy and wouldn’t put down the gun.  My daughter then walked out the front door … we all screamed at her to go back in the house.  She ran in and Richard proceeded to go around the back of the house and went back inside, where Christina was, through the patio door he had already shot out.   My neighbors held me back as I screamed at the officer to shoot him because he was going to go kill my daughter.  My daughter then appeared at her second floor bedroom window and the police officer told her to jump out of the second story window.  She did and landed flat on her back on the hood of her car.  She then rolled off and screamed for us to help her.  She couldn’t get up and we all feared that Richard would come back to hurt her.  Again, my neighbors held me back from going to help her and the officer couldn’t help her either.   She finally crawled down the driveway and the policeman helped her up and she ran to me.  I will never forget her screaming at me to help her and I was not able to do anything for her.  I still wake up at night hearing her screaming for me.  I jump out of bed and look all over the house for her.   If she’s not there I call and call her until I can hear her voice and know she’s okay.  It seems so real …but its not.  

Richard then barricaded himself in the house shooting up the house and our belongings while in there … even taking the time to find a corkscrew open a bottle of wine and drink it.   It seemed hours before we heard that he was finally arrested by police and taken out of the house.  They had shot him.   I now struggled with my faith … do I pray for him to die because it will bring peace to our family?  We were just numb.  Later that evening, when finally back with Christina and my family, I noticed that there was a voicemail message on my cell phone.  The message was from Richard.  In his message he stated, “I am going to die today.  The police are going to kill me.  I want to talk to you before I go.  Please call me.”  After all our trauma of the day, even with him being arrested, he still continued to haunt us.   

My daughter was taken away by ambulance.  She had two broken vertebrae, whiplash and a concussion.  I couldn’t go with her in the ambulance because the police wanted me to go immediately to the police station after the incident.  I wasn’t allowed to talk to anyone either.  After this emotional and physical trauma … I was not allowed to go with my daughter to comfort her (or have her comfort me).  

We are now in financial ruin.  My daughter did not have health insurance and, with her type of injuries, she needed to see specialists.  They would not see her unless we first paid for the services.  Doing what every good mother would do, I charged all her medical bills and prescriptions.  We will NEVER, in our lifetimes, be able to pay all her medical bills. We also incurred substantial living expenses while we had to live in a hotel for 6 – 8 weeks after the incident.  Our home incurred $11,000 in damages and we were unable to live in it until some damage was repaired.  We had to pay a $500 deductible before they would even start.  The damage to the house “physically” could be repaired but the memories that we now have there have left us without the peacefulness our home once had.  We are forced to live in our home where someone stalked and tried to kill us.  The construction started in April and wasn’t finished until September.  The bullet hole in the wall being one of the last items fixed.  We live with that now.  With my credit, selling it and getting another place is not an option for us.   

To this day, my daughter and I cannot pass by a tall, thin man, especially if he is smoking, without feeling anxious. Peace, comfort and security …the security of finding our home a safe haven was ripped away from us. We are both seeking counseling and are on anti-depressants as well as anti-anxiety medications.  Concentrating and focusing is nearly impossible, even a year later.   

I realize now that I will not let you into my thoughts anymore.  You have been caught and you will be punished for your crimes.  This will be the last day that I will look at you, and talk to you.  After today you will no longer be a part of my memories.   You will be erased from the face of this earth.  After today, you will be non-existent to me, my family and friends, neighbors and everyone else that knows of you.  I will never forgive you for what you put Christina, Nick, my mom, our family and friends through.  People are here in this court room because of their love and support for Christina and me.  You are here alone and will be alone for the rest of your life.  I want you to know that once we walk out of the courtroom you will cease to exist to us.  Totally forgotten.  

I ask the Court to take this letter and my feelings into consideration. Thank you.


Michelle Fischer

Indiana man sentenced to 17 years for stalking ex-girlfriend after standoff, gunfire with Will County Sheriff’s Deputies

(Click here to read the Victim Impact Statement of Michelle Fisher)

Richard Petrick

Richard Petrick

JOLIET –– Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow announced that an Indiana man who forced his way into his former girlfriend’s house last year and held Will County sheriff’s deputies at bay with a gun has been sentenced to 17 years in prison.

Richard Petrick, 49, pleaded guilty in April to aggravated assault, aggravated stalking and home invasion – a Class X felony. Will County Circuit Judge Daniel Rozak sentenced Petrick on Wednesday.

“The conviction and sentencing of this dangerous stalker is the culmination of intensive collaboration by Will County Sheriff’s deputies and the members of my Domestic Violence Prosecution Unit,” said State’s Attorney Glasgow. “They immediately recognized the volatility of this situation and worked closely with the victim in real time to protect her from this seriously unstable individual.”

Glasgow’s Domestic Violence Prosecution Unit –– Assistant State’s Attorney Heather Meyers and Victim Witness Advocate Kathy Craven –– began working closely with Deputy Christopher Cavera shortly after Petrick began violating orders of protection the victim had obtained against him.

Deputy Cavera had been called to the victim’s residence in Frankfort Square on the evening of Feb. 12, 2010 in response to a report that the defendant was driving by her home. While he was taking that report, Deputy Cavera witnessed the defendant drive past the residence again.  He was unable to apprehend the defendant initially, but he continued to patrol the area during his shift.

Later that same night, Deputy Cavera  found the defendant parked outside the victim’s residence with a small arsenal in his vehicle. Inside Petrick’s car he found a pellet gun, a 10-inch hunting knife, a Winchester rifle, a .22 caliber semiautomatic rifle, a box of ammunition and a pair of binoculars. Petrick was in violation of an Order of Protection and charged with aggravated stalking for that incident.

On April 9, 2010, while on bond for Aggravated Stalking, his former girlfriend smelled cigarette smoke outside her residence and saw Petrick hiding in the bushes at about 6 a.m.

The woman ran into her house, locked her doors, dialed 911 and hit a panic button on her home alarm system when she saw Petrick. The defendant used a pellet gun to shoot through the sliding glass door, entered the residence and threatened to kill the woman.

The victim managed to run out the front door. Her adult daughter, who lived in the residence, jumped from a second-floor bedroom window onto a car parked in the driveway to escape.

Because of the close work between the Domestic Violence Unit and the Sheriff’s Department, deputies were on the scene within moments of the victim’s emergency call.

Sgt. Thomas Budde saw the defendant hiding behind a wall inside the home and ordered him to drop the weapon. Petrick refused, telling police they would have to shoot him. As Petrick pointed his weapon at deputies, Sgt. Budde fired, shooting him in the eye. The defendant survived to face felony charges.“Sgt. Budde displayed extraordinary bravery while responding to this incredibly explosive and dangerous situation,” said State’s Attorney Glasgow. “Every deputy involved in the investigation of this case and the members of my Domestic Violence Prosecution Unit deserve credit for saving the life of this woman from this dangerous reprobate.”

Will County Take Back the Night Celebrates 15th Anniversary Annual Vigil and March calls for an end to violence against women

August 10

JOLIET – Women and men of all ages are invited to take a stand against sexual violence at the 15th annual Will County Take Back the Night march and rally on October 6. Take Back the Night brings survivors, supporters, activists and community leaders together in a call for the end of violence against women.

Take Back the Night 2011 is scheduled for Thursday, October 6, at 5:30 p.m. at Joliet West High School, 401 North Larkin Avenue, Joliet. 

This year’s keynote speaker is Ms. Carmina Salcido, a violence survivor from Sonoma County, California. In 1989, when Carmina was three years old, her father went on a killing spree, murdering Carmina’s mother, aunts and grandmother. He then slashed the throats of his three young daughters, leaving them for dead in the county dump. Miraculously, tiny Carmina was the sole survivor. Carmina summoned the strength to find forgiveness and closure, and later went on to compete on American Idol and recently released her book, Not Lost Forever: My Story of Survival. 

Take Back the Night began in Europe in 1976 and has continued throughout the world as a sign of empowerment for women, men and children. For the past 15 years, Will County Take Back the Night has hosted an annual rally to raise awareness about sexual violence and to support survivors in their healing.

The free event will also include a candlelight vigil honoring women and children from Will County who were murdered over the past ten years. The night will culminate with an energizing march down Larkin Avenue, where marchers will take the message of a violence-free world to the streets.

Will County Take Back the Night also raises funds for local agencies which assist women and their families. Last year, TBTN distributed over $8,000 of assistance to the following agencies: Bridges to a New Day, Groundwork, Lamb’s Fold Center for Women and Children, Prairie State Legal Services, Sexual Assault Services Center, USF Health and Wellness Center and the Will County Children’s Advocacy Center.

Participants are urged to participate in a pantry drive by bringing non-perishable food items, paper goods or grocery store and gas station gift cards to be collected at the event. These donations will be distributed for use by area domestic violence shelters.

A pre-event fundraiser, hosted by the office of Will County Circuit Clerk Pamela McGuire, will be held on Friday, August 26, from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the Chicago Street Bar and Grill, 75 N. Chicago St., Joliet. Tickets are $25 per person and include appetizers, draft beer, soft drinks and water. The funds raised will support the costs associated with holding the vigil and march in October. 

For more information, or to donate to Will County Take Back the Night, go to or, or contact committee co-chair Katrina Crone at (815) 774-7862. Will County Take Back the Night is a 501-c-3 non-profit organization.

Arrangements for the appearance of Carmina Salcido made through HarperCollins Speakers Bureau, NY, NY.

For More Information Contact:
Katrina Crone – (815) 774-7862
Julie Oetter – (815) 263-4874