State’s Attorney Glasgow, domestic abuse victim Rebecca Mercado testify before Senate Criminal Law Committee on bill that seeks to punish torture

May 11

JOLIET – Rebecca Mercado suffered two days of torture at the hands of her enraged husband in July 2009 when he held her captive in their Joliet house and beat her repeatedly with his hands, a piece of wood trim and a metal broom handle.

She survived the brutal attack and worked closely with Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow’s Domestic Violence Prosecution Unit to place her husband in prison for 4-1/2 years.

On Wednesday, she joined State’s Attorney Glasgow in testifying before the Illinois Senate Criminal Law Committee regarding legislation that will significantly raise the penalties for the most violent domestic abusers.

Rebecca’s Law (HB 233) was drafted by State’s Attorney Glasgow and sponsored by Representatives Tom Cross, Dennis Reboletti and Jim Watson in the House and Senator Linda Holmes in the Senate. The law amends the state’s Aggravated Battery Statute to make it a Class 1 Felony to torture a victim like Mercado was tortured. Class 1 Felonies are punishable by 4-15 years in prison.

Mercado’s horrific case inspired State’s Attorney Glasgow to join Senator Holmes and Representatives Cross, Reboletti and Watson to fill a gap in the state’s Aggravated Battery Statute. Erick Mercado-Hernandez was convicted of aggravated battery and domestic battery, but under current law he was only eligible for a maximum of five years in prison.

“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. “She survived a terrible ordeal that left her battered and bruised. Her case cried out for greater penalties for anyone who would inflict this kind of torture on another person. Today, this courageous woman has found her voice, and she is working with the Will County State’s Attorney’s Office and the General Assembly to pass a law to protect other abused women.”

“Under current law, offenses like the one Rebecca fell victim to are on the same level as being convicted of meth possession,” Senator Holmes said. “After hearing Rebecca’s horrific story, there wasn’t a doubt in my mind that steps needed to be taken to enhance penalties for crimes like these. This bill is important to help protect abused women throughout the state.”

“We are so proud of Rebecca for her courage on this issue and working together with us so that victims in the future will have more options when it comes to these horrible crimes,” said Rep. Cross.  “I applaud her for her tenacity and courage.”

Mercado suffered extensive bruising across her body, including her head, back, legs and feet during the attack. She would not flee because she was too injured to escape with all three of her little children, who ranged in age from 6-months-old to 5-years-old at the time. Mercado and her children were rescued after she secretly dialed 911 and left the phone off the hook while her husband was in the bathroom. 

Aggravated battery is a Class 3 felony that carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison. The judge handed down a sentence at the top of the range after noting the seriousness of the victim’s injuries and the fact that three children were in the house during the two-day beating.

“My ex-husband received close to the maximum sentence under the current law, but with good behavior he most likely will get out of prison in January of 2012,” Mercado said. “The amendment that is proposed is necessary so that other women who find themselves in my place know there are strong sentences to protect them from their abusers when they follow through with their prosecutions.”

The case against Mercado-Hernandez was handled by State’s Attorney Glasgow’s specialized Domestic Violence Prosecution Unit and his Victim Independence Program.  Assistant State’s Attorney Heather Meyers secured the guilty plea and prison sentence in the courtroom while Domestic Violence Victim Advocate Kathy Craven provided the victim with support services and encouragement to follow through with the prosecution. Craven called Mercado on the day the case was charged and remained in constant contact with her over the past year. Mercado noted that had the team not reached out to her immediately and offered its continuous support, which included referrals for domestic violence counseling and the securing of an order of protection against her husband, she would not have followed through with the prosecution.

Man convicted of attempted murder in Joliet shooting

May 3

JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow announced that a jury has found a Chicago man guilty of attempted first-degree murder for shooting a Joliet man who was standing in his driveway four times in 2008.

Arturo Romero, 20, also was found guilty of aggravated battery with a firearm and aggravated discharge of a firearm. He faces a minimum of 26 years in prison for the attempted murder when he is sentenced by Associate Judge Edward Burmila on July 27.

Romero, who goes by the street name “Insane,” and several others had an altercation with the victim’s two sons outside their Joliet house on the evening of Oct. 12, 2008. Someone fired a BB gun from the car in which Romero was riding, and one of the victim’s sons threw a rock that struck someone inside the vehicle. 

Shortly before midnight, Romero was driven back to the house after retrieving a .45-caliber semiautomatic handgun from a friend’s house. He wore a black hoodie as he approached the victim and opened fire, striking him in the elbow and in the ankle.

Romero fired again as the victim attempted to crawl away, striking him in the thigh and grazing his chest. He then fired two more rounds at the house when he heard one of the victim’s sons shout from the garage, “Hey, that’s my dad.”

After the shooting, the defendant ran back around the block to the waiting car and jumped in laughing saying, “I got him. I got him. Let’s go.”

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 crept up in the night and fired several rounds at an innocent man and continued to advance on the wounded victim as he tried to crawl to safety in his own driveway,” said State’s Attorney Glasgow. “These are the actions of a vicious street thug whose callous disregard for human life warrants a lengthy prison sentence.”

The State’s Attorney thanked prosecutors Chris Koch and Jessica Colon-Sayre for securing an important conviction. He also credited the Joliet Police Department for its first-rate investigation.Two other defendants, David Hensley, 20, and Roberto Flores, 19, both of Joliet, are facing charges in the case.

Will County law enforcement officials agree quality preschool reduces crime, saves money

April 21

State’s Attorney Glasgow, Romeoville Police Chief Turvey, 
Rep. McAsey will visit local preschool program, read to children

ROMEOVILLE – On Monday, April 25, Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow, Romeoville Police Chief Mark Turvey and State Rep. Emily McAsey (member of the House Appropriations – Elementary and Secondary Education Committee) will visit a state-funded preschool class in Romeoville. 

The law enforcement leaders will discuss their support for early childhood education as a proven crime-fighting strategy. State’s Attorney Glasgow, Chief Turvey and Rep. McAsey will then read to a classroom of preschool children.

Fight Crime: Invest in Kids is sponsoring the event as part of a national law enforcement campaign to promote support for high-quality early childhood education. Research shows that high-quality preschool programs prevent future violent crime. Detailed numbers on Will County children served and underserved by quality preschool programs will be available at the event. 

WHAT:  News conference, photo opportunity with children
WHO:Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow
Romeoville Police Chief Mark Turvey
State Representative Emily McAsey
WHEN:Monday, April 25, 10:15 A.M.
WHERE:Valley View Early Education Center
753 Dal Hart Drive (formerly Luther Drive)
VISUALS:Law enforcement reading to children
Charts showing preschool availability in Will County
Children engaged in preschool activities

Fight Crime: Invest in Kids Illinois is a bipartisan, nonprofit anti-crime organization of over 300 police chiefs, sheriffs, state’s attorneys, leaders of police officer organizations and victims of violence.

Mokena teenager sentenced to 40 years for murdering his 4-year-old sister

April 14

JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow announced today that the Mokena teenager who stabbed his 4-year-old sister to death in 2009 has been sentenced to 40 years in prison.

Prosecutors asked Circuit Judge Amy Bertani-Tomczak to sentence Keith T. Randulich, 19, to life in prison or to sentence him to an extended term of 60 to 100 years so that he will never walk free in society again.

Randulich used a household steak knife to slice through the throat of his 4-year-old sister, Sabrina Clement, while she was lying on her basement floor on May 22, 2009. Randulich had agreed to watch the child after fighting with his mother over her refusal to let him purchase a firearm. After retrieving a knife, he lured the little girl into the basement by saying he would paint and play with her downstairs.

Prosecutors stated at Thursday’s sentencing hearing that Sabrina cried out to her brother, “Why are you killing me?” as he sliced deeply through her neck, nearly severing her head. Randulich claimed to police after his arrest that he killed his sister to protect her because he believed another family member was abusing her, although his assertion of abuse was unsupported by any evidence.

Randulich entered a blind plea of guilty to first-degree murder in December. Prosecutors filed a motion indicating they would seek a life sentence because the crime was brutal and heinous and involved a child under 12-years-old. Her tender young age alone was a sufficient qualifying factor for an extended term of 60 to 100 years in prison. The statutory sentence for murder without the aggravating enhancements is 20 to 60 years in prison.

Randulich will be only 58 when he is released from prison.

“This was a crime of unspeakable cruelty and horror,” said State’s Attorney Glasgow. “Sabrina Clement trusted and loved her brother unconditionally, and she suffered terror and agony at his hands in the last moments of her short life. The brutal and heartless murder of this innocent, helpless little girl demanded an enhanced sentence to guarantee this cold-blooded monster would die in prison so he would never have another opportunity to commit such an atrocity.”

Joliet man sentenced to 51 years for 2009 murder

April 13

JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow announced today that a Joliet man has been sentenced to 51 years in prison for gunning down a man in 2009.

Tyrone Henderson, 31, was found guilty of first-degree murder in January at the conclusion of a jury trial. He also was found guilty of home invasion, criminal trespass to residence, aggravated unlawful use of a weapon and being an armed habitual criminal.

Henderson shot Michael Amos, 21, on Aug. 26, 2009 at the victim’s home in Joliet. Amos had teased Henderson’s girlfriend on that evening. She called Henderson, who arrived at Amos’ house a short time later armed with a .45-caliber weapon.

Henderson punched the victim’s brother in the face, which led to a melee inside the house. The defendant then brandished his weapon and shot Amos three times – once in the shoulder, once in the stomach and once in the leg – while others in the house attempted to take the gun from his hand.

“Tyrone Henderson is a depraved miscreant who gunned down an unarmed man in this act of cold-blooded violence,” State’s Attorney Glasgow said. “The conviction and sentence secured by my prosecutors guarantee he will spend most, if not all, of his remaining days in a cold, dank prison cell.”Assistant State’s Attorneys Sara Shutts and Alyson DeBell prosecuted the murder case.

Bolingbrook man sentenced to 5 years for DUI crash that killed sleeping woman

April 6

JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow announced today that the Bolingbrook man responsible for the drunken driving crash that killed a woman who was sleeping in her bed has been sentenced to five years in prison.

Luis V. Benito, 17, of 307 Woodcreek Dr., pleaded guilty in January to two counts of aggravated driving while under the influence of alcohol.

The victim, Josefina Prospero, and her husband were asleep in bed when Benito crashed his SUV through the wall of their apartment unit in the early-morning hours of November 13, 2010. Mrs. Prospero was pinned beneath the wheel of the vehicle and pronounced dead at the scene. Her husband, who was sleeping closer to the wall, was unharmed.

Benito’s blood-alcohol level was .204 at the time of the crash, which is two and a half times the legal limit.

The crime carries a penalty of between three and 14 years in prison. Illinois law requires a prison sentence unless a judge determines that extraordinary circumstances warrant placing the defendant on probation. Prosecutors urged the judge to place the defendant behind bars.

“An innocent woman lost her life because of Luis Benito’s selfish and reckless decision to get behind the wheel of an SUV when his blood-alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit,” State’s Attorney Glasgow said.  “A prison term was the only justifiable sentence for causing this horrific fatal wreck.”

The state’s attorney credited his prosecutor, Fred Harvey, with securing the guilty plea and prison sentence.

Man who caused DUI crash that killed two in Mokena sentenced to 13 years

March 31

JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow announced today that a Palos Heights man responsible for a DUI collision that caused the death of two other men has been sentenced to 13

years in prison.

Scott A. Rossow, 27, was found guilty by Associate Judge Edward Burmila of four counts of aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol at the conclusion of an eight-day bench trial that ended on Nov. 29.

Rossow was driving a Corvette in excess of 100 mph near the intersection of Francis and Town Line Roads in Mokena in the early-morning hours of Dec. 8, 2006 when he lost control of the vehicle and struck a tree. The defendant and his two passengers, Christopher Sommers and David Sauseda, were all ejected from the vehicle. Sommers was a friend; Sauseda was a family member.

Rossow’s blood-alcohol level was .127. His defense attorney argued at trial that he was not driving the car.

The Will County State’s Attorney’s Office, working with the Mokena Police Department and the Will County Sheriff’s Department, charged the case in 2008 after conducting thorough reviews of accident reconstruction reports that were completed during the lengthy investigation.

State’s Attorney Glasgow thanked police investigators and his two prosecutors, Christopher Koch and Tricia McKenna, for their work in securing this conviction and prison sentence.

“This was a horrific and senseless collision caused by a drunken driver whose irresponsible actions resulted in the deaths of two men,” State’s Attorney Glasgow said. “The investigation and prosecution of this case was complicated by the fact that everyone, including the defendant, was ejected from the vehicle. However, fine work by police in the field and by my prosecutors in the courtroom left no doubt that Scott Rossow was the driver in this high-speed DUI crash.”During the sentencing hearing, Assistant State’s Attorney Koch presented testimony to Judge Burmila that Rossow had been arrested and charged with narcotics trafficking in Kentucky in October 2010, while he was awaiting trial in this aggravated DUI case.

Joliet man guilty in 2009 murder; another defendant awaiting trial

March 31

JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow announced that a Joliet man has been convicted of first-degree murder in connection with the shooting death of a man inside the Lois Place apartment complex in 2009.

A jury deliberated for four hours before finding Pedro Sanchez, 32, guilty of two counts of first-degree murder for the killing of Robert Gooch on May 22, 2009. Another man, Jesus Zambrano, 20, of Joliet, also has been charged with first-degree murder in this case and is awaiting trial.

Sanchez faces between 35 and 75 years in prison when he is sentenced by Circuit Judge Amy Bertani-Tomczak on June 2. He is eligible for an enhanced sentence because the state proved he was armed with a firearm during the commission of this murder.

Sanchez and Zambrano confronted Gooch at the apartment of Gooch’s girlfriend, Ellissa Hinton, according to testimony during the three-day trial. Hinton testified she was having sex occasionally with Sanchez, but that she didn’t want to leave Gooch so their relationship could go further.

Hinton testified she and Gooch had watched the NBA playoffs and had gone to bed on the night of the murder. Later that evening, Gooch answered the apartment’s buzzer while she remained in the bedroom. She testified she heard Sanchez’s voice in the living room and someone saying “my girl” just before she heard a single gunshot.

She went to the living room to find Gooch lying on the floor bleeding from the head. An autopsy later revealed Gooch died from a gunshot wound to the back of the head. Gooch’s two young children were sleeping on a sofa bed in the living room at the time of the murder.

Assistant State’s Attorneys Michael Fitzgerald and Dan Walsh entered into evidence security tapes from the apartment complex showing Sanchez and Zambrano arriving at the parking lot in the defendant’s car, getting out of the vehicle and then returning to the car before driving away.

Another witness testified he saw Zambrano retrieve a gun from under the hood of Sanchez’s car before the two entered the apartment complex.

The gun was never recovered and there was no direct evidence to show specifically whether Sanchez or Zambrano pulled the trigger. However, Fitzgerald and Walsh argued that Sanchez and Zambrano both are accountable under the law, regardless of which one fired the weapon.

Zambrano, who also faces two counts of first-degree murder, is scheduled to appear in court for a pretrial on May 4. The Will County State’s Attorney’s Office reminds the public that charges and indictments 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 Drug Court to graduate five who beat their addictions

March 22

JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow announced that Will County Drug Court will graduate five people who have successfully completed the program and are now living drug-free lives.

A graduation ceremony is scheduled for 1 p.m. Thursday, March 24 at the Will County Office Building, 302 N. Chicago Street. The public is invited to attend. Graduates from Joliet and Mokena will join more than 250 others who graduated from Drug Court since its inception in 1999.

In Drug Court, prosecutors and defense attorneys work with the judge and treatment providers to help abusers who have committed non-violent offenses battle their addictions. Those allowed into the program are carefully screened and must remain drug free, submit to random drug tests, find employment, follow through with treatment and attend weekly Drug Court sessions. 

Graduation is the final step in this intensive year-long process. Circuit Judge Carla Alessio Policandriotes, who presides over Drug Court, will introduce graduates and discuss how the program helped them clean up their lives.

“Drug Court requires a tremendous commitment from these defendants,” said State’s Attorney Glasgow, who spearheaded the creation of the program. “Failure to complete the program means a felony conviction and a possible prison sentence. Success means leading drug-free lives and rejoining their communities without those charges hanging over their heads.”

The State’s Attorney 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 defendants.

For more information on Drug Court, go to and click on Crime Prevention.

Man guilty of gunning down unarmed man outside Joliet grocery store

March 18

JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow announced today that a jury has found a Joliet man guilty of gunning down a man outside a Joliet grocery store last year.

Christian D. Noel, 27, of the 100 block of Madonna, Joliet, was convicted of first-degree murder for shooting Conley Ratcliffe to death on February 26, 2010. He faces between 45 years to life in prison when he is sentenced by Associate Judge Edward Burmila on May 18.

Noel got into an argument with Ratcliffe outside the grocery store in the 1000 block of Woodruff. During the argument, the defendant pulled out a handgun prompting the victim to flee through a parking lot.

Noel fired multiple shots while the victim was fleeing, striking him four times from behind, according to testimony during the four-day trial. Ratcliffe fell to the ground, turned over and begged the defendant not to shoot him. Noel, however, continued to fire, shooting at Ratcliffe four to five more times while he was on the ground. In total, the victim sustained nine gunshot wounds, two of which were graze wounds.

Joliet police arrested Noel a week later, after interviewing witnesses near the store at the time of the shooting. There was no testimony regarding a motive for the shooting. 

“Christian Noel gunned down an unarmed man who begged for his life during this act of cold-blooded, execution-style violence,” said State’s Attorney Glasgow. “With this conviction, we have eliminated the ability of this ruthless killer to wreak deadly havoc on our streets.”The State’s Attorney thanked his prosecutors, Fred Harvey, James Long and Heathers Meyers for securing Friday’s murder conviction. The jury deliberated for 2-1/2 hours before delivering a guilty verdict.