Joliet man convicted of murder for shooting father who was walking to store with two young sons

March 11

JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow announced that a Joliet man today was convicted of first-degree murder in connection with the fatal shooting of a father who was walking with his two young children outside a Joliet store in 2008.

Daniel Huizar, 21, was convicted on three counts of first-degree murder and one count of aggravated discharge of a firearm on Friday at the conclusion of a bench trial before Circuit Judge Amy Bertani-Tomczak. He faces 45 years to life in prison when he is sentenced by the judge on May 19, 2011.

Alfredo Lopez was caught in the middle of a gang fight between the Latin Kings and the Vice Lords. He was shot and killed as he walked with his 11-year-old and 8-year-old sons while approaching the entrance to a store at 358 E. Cass Avenue in Joliet on April 16, 2008.

After the fight concluded, Huizar fired three rounds in the direction of rival gang members outside the Cass Avenue strip mall. One of the bullets struck Mr. Lopez and killed him.

Seven other individuals were charged in connection with the incident. They pleaded guilty to felony charges of aggravated intimidation or intimidation in connection with the gang fight and received sentences of between 10 and 12 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections. Several of those individuals testified against Huizar during his trial.

“This conviction combined with the sentences already handed down in this case should serve as a warning to every gang banger in Will County that we will never tolerate such gutless acts of violence,” State’s Attorney Glasgow said. “If there’s a gang fight and someone dies, we will relentlessly pursue everyone involved. We will hold everyone accountable for their actions.”The state’s attorney thanked his prosecutors, Assistant State’s Attorneys Daniel Walsh, Michael Fitzgerald and James Long for pursuing justice in the courtroom and securing an important conviction. He also credited the Joliet Police Department and Chief Fred Hayes for conducting a thorough and aggressive investigation that enabled his prosecutors to succeed in court.

State’s Attorney Glasgow’s statement on death penalty legislation

March 9

JOLIET – In response to Governor Quinn signing legislation that eliminates the death penalty in Illinois, Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow announced today he will move quickly to decertify the two pending death penalty prosecutions in Will County.

State’s Attorney Glasgow said:

“Over the years, the death penalty has served an important role in the prosecution of the most heinous murder cases in Illinois. The legislation approved today, however, effectively bars prosecutors from pursuing the death penalty. This legislation compels me to decertify the two pending capital cases in Will County and aggressively pursue sentences of life in prison upon a conviction in both cases.

“Expeditiously decertifying these death penalty cases will immediately stop the funneling of precious taxpayer dollars into the pockets of defense attorneys and channel the money instead toward services for the families of homicide victims and police training.”

State’s Attorney Glasgow elected to pursue the death penalty in one of these cases on January 19, 2011, while the legislation was awaiting the governor’s signature.

The Will County death penalty cases are:
Christopher Vaughn (07CF1308): Four Counts of First Degree Murder alleging he shot his wife and three children near Channahon on or about June 14, 2007. Richard Conner (09CF1946). Two Counts First Degree Murder alleging he strangled his cellmate at Stateville Correctional Center on or about April 1, 2009.

Joliet man sentenced to 45 years in prison for gunning down ice cream vendor in 2007

March 4

JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow announced today that a Joliet man convicted in the shooting death of an ice cream vendor three years ago on the city’s East Side has been sentenced to 45 years in prison.

Monta Travis, 18, was found guilty of three counts of first-degree murder and one count of armed robbery in December at the conclusion of a bench trial presided over by Circuit Judge Amy Bertani-Tomczak.

Travis gunned down Manuel Villagomez, who was pushing an ice cream cart in the 300 block of Grant Avenue at about 1 p.m. on Aug. 26, 2007.

Travis rode his bicycle up to the victim, shot him three times and left him to die in the street. Travis and an accomplice, Curtis Russell Jr., 23, of Joliet, stole an undisclosed amount of cash from Villagomez before fleeing. 

Joliet police picked up Travis on the afternoon of the murder based on eyewitness reports of the shooting. The defendant confessed to the murder and robbery while being questioned by police.

“Monta Travis gunned down an innocent man who was selling ice cream from a push cart on a summer day and working hard to provide for his family,” State’s Attorney Glasgow said. “Because of his act of callous greed and brutality, and thanks to the hard work by Joliet police and my prosecutors, Travis will spend the better part of his life in prison where he cannot harm another innocent person.”

Assistant State’s Attorneys Debbie Mills and Michael Fitzgerald prosecuted the case and secured the conviction. Fitzgerald is Glasgow’s Felony Division Chief. Mills is the state’s attorney’s Misdemeanor Division Chief. Both are members of the Special Prosecutions Team, which reviews and prosecutes the office’s most complex criminal cases.Russell pleaded guilty to his role in the murder in 2008 and was sentenced to 20 years prison. Mills and Fitzgerald also prosecuted the case against Russell.

Amateur cooks to fire up favorite recipes for judging at Third Annual ‘Men Who Cook’ in Mokena

March 3

JOLIET – Some 50 local guys who know how to cook more than a microwave pizza will place their favorite home recipes up for public judging at the Third Annual “Men Who Cook” competition from 6-9 p.m. March 26 at the Pipefitters Training Center Local 597 in Mokena.

The Will County Children’s Advocacy Center, which is hosting the popular culinary competition, encourages everyone to save the date and arrive hungry. All proceeds from “Men Who Cook” will benefit the Children’s Advocacy Center, a not-for-profit agency that has dramatically improved the way allegations of child abuse are investigated in Will County.

Tom Grotovsky of Mokena was a hit with his Cajun Andouille Sausage with Chicken and Peppers in the 2010 competition.

Tom Grotovsky of Mokena was a hit with his Cajun Andouille Sausage with Chicken and Peppers in the 2010 competition.“Men Who Cook” is a fun and exciting way to support the Children’s Advocacy Center and cheer on a chef from your own community. During the competition, amateur cooks offer for public judging samples of home-cooked dishes they serve their own families. Guests can taste and vote for their favorite dish in each of four categories: appetizer; side dish; entrée; and dessert. WJOL’s Lynne, Mary and Natalie 
will greet guests on the Red Carpet and serve as hostesses. 

The cost to sample the fine cuisine at “Men Who Cook” is an affordable $35 per person; $60 per couple. This is a casual event.

“Our first ‘Men Who Cook’ competition was so much fun and so wildly successful that we’ve been looking for larger venues ever since to accommodate the growing number of guests and cooks,” said State’s Attorney Glasgow, who founded the Children’s Advocacy Center and chairs its Board of Directors. “The Pipefitters have generously donated their vast Training Center in Mokena to accommodate the crowds we expect this year.” 

State’s Attorney Glasgow established the Children’s Advocacy Center in 1995 to improve investigations in child sexual abuse cases. The center’s trained staff performs child-sensitive interviews when there are allegations of sexual or severe physical abuse. Children’s recorded statements have been used in the successful prosecution of hundreds of predators. The center’s staff has interviewed 2,249 children over the past six years. 

The State’s Attorney founded the center as a 501-c-3 non-profit organization so it would not impact taxpayers. As a result, the center relies on grants, foundations and fundraisers like “Men Who Cook” to operate.

“The Children’s Advocacy Center deals with the serious problem of child abuse,” said State’s Attorney Glasgow. “‘Men Who Cook’ allows everyone to have a great time while they support the center’s critical work on behalf of our children. The crowds are large. The competition is fun and fierce. And the food is great. I guarantee an evening you won’t forget.”

To order tickets, or to sponsor “Men Who Cook,” call the Will County Children’s Advocacy Center at (815) 774-4564. Tickets also are available at the door. Or you can visit the center on the Web at or on Facebook at


This year’s “Men Who Cook” sponsors include: Exchange Club of Joliet, Will County Sheriff’s Deputies Union, Rasmussen College; Northern Illinois Steel Supply Company, Will County Take Back the Night, Joliet Fraternal Order of Police, Wal-Mart on Route 59 in Shorewood, Affirmative Insurance Holdings (Insure One, Crest Hill), Ozinga Brothers, A.J.  Dralle, Inc. Exxon-Mobil Joliet Refinery, Caterpillar Foundation, Kohl’s-Plainfield, Terry D’Arcy-D’Arcy Motors, Joliet Kiwanis Charities, Shark Shredding & Storage Services and Citgo Refinery.

In-kind sponsors include: Pipefitters Local #597 Training Center-Mokena, 1340-WJOL Radio, the Herald News, Voyager Media Group, Signs By Tomorrow and Your SW

Prize donors include: Joliet Police Department, Prairie Bluff Golf Club, Bob Campbell Photography, Outback Steakhouse-Joliet, Fred Astaire Dance Studio-Mokena, Babe’s Hotdogs-Tim Reilly, Sur La Table-Naperville, Peggy Field, McBrody’s, Cardinal Fitness-Mokena, Innerpeace Natural Healthcare and Paul E’s Place-Mokena.

Steger man guilty in DUI crash that killed 5-year-old boy

February 23

JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow announced that a jury late on Tuesday found a Steger man guilty of two counts of aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol in connection with a collision that caused the death of a 5-year-old boy.

Cecil Conner, 23, was driving between 66-73 mph when his Chevy Cavalier crossed the center line, drove across several lawns, ripped down a fence and collided with a large pine tree at about 3:15 a.m. on May 10 on 34th Street in Steger. His blood-alcohol level was later tested at .180, more than twice the legal limit. 

Five-year-old Michael Langford Jr., who was sleeping in the back seat, suffered a broken neck and severe head injuries in the wreck. He was unresponsive at the scene and pronounced dead at a hospital later that morning. Michael was the son of Conner’s girlfriend.

Conner had been drinking alcohol at a friend’s home the prior night and into the morning of the crash. His girlfriend, Kathie LaFond, brought her son with her to pick him up late that night. LaFond, however, was pulled over by a Chicago Heights police officer on the way home while Conner was in the passenger seat. She was arrested for driving without a valid license; the car was turned over to Conner at the traffic stop.

Defense attorneys failed to convince jurors that the police officer was solely responsible for the fatal crash and that Conner was blameless when he drove from the scene.

Prosecutors Debbie Mills and Alyson DeBell both pointed to testimony showing LaFond and the defendant failed to tell the officer Conner was drunk. They argued in court the defendant chose to drive for 28 minutes after the traffic stop, which ended at 2:47 a.m., and then chose to speed through the street before causing the one-car wreck that claimed Michael’s life.

“Jurors saw through defense attorneys’ attempt to mislead them from the real issues in this case and placed the responsibility for the death of this innocent child squarely on the head of Cecil Conner,” State’s Attorney Glasgow said.

He continued: “It was Cecil Conner who knowingly drove for a half hour with a blood-alcohol level more than twice the legal limit. It was Conner who drove in excess of 66 mph in a 30 mph zone. And it was Conner who recklessly lost control of the vehicle, crashed through a fence, struck a large tree and caused the death of a helpless child.”

The state’s attorney thanked prosecutors Mills and DeBell for first-rate trial work that brought justice in the name of Michael Langford. DeBell is an assistant state’s attorney in the office’s felony division; Mills is the chief of the office’s misdemeanor division, an expert in the area of DUI prosecutions and a member of the state’s attorney’s Special Prosecutions Team.

Conner faces between three and 14 years in prison when he is sentence by Associate Judge Edward Burmila on May 18. A prison term is mandatory unless the judge determines there are extraordinary circumstances that warrant placing the defendant on probation. Prosecutors will argue for a prison term at sentencing.

Third District Appellate Court Hearing – February 16, 2011

January 15

Will County State’s Attorney James W. Glasgow is the lead prosecutor in the murder trial of Drew Peterson and will deliver the rebuttal argument during Wednesday’s Third District Appellate Court hearing.

State’s Attorney Glasgow has a long and distinguished career during which he has implemented groundbreaking initiatives to investigate, prosecute and prevent crime. State’s Attorney Glasgow:

  • Formed Will County’s first Gang Prosecution Unit and organized gang sweeps that dramatically reduced local gang shootings in the early 1990s.
  • Pioneered Will County’s first Specialized Domestic Violence Court, which mandated abuser counseling to break the destructive cycle of violence.
  • Obtained $1.5 million in federal funding to enable prosecutors, police and victim advocates to battle domestic violence.
  • Established the Will County Children’s Advocacy Center to stop child sexual predators in their tracks.
  • Spearheaded the creation of the Will County Drug Court, which was selected as one of the top 10 programs in the nation.
  • Wrote the Animal Torture Statute, which created the first felony charge in Illinois for the abuse of animals.

In his long history with the Will County State’s Attorney’s Office, Glasgow served as a lead prosecutor in both the Misdemeanor and Felony Trial Divisions. He has successfully prosecuted felony criminal cases ranging from retail theft to first-degree murder. In addition, he secured jury convictions in three death-penalty cases. Two of those convictions in the 1990s were against Gregory Shaw and Elton Williams. Both were convicted of shooting Crest Hill Police Officer Timothy Simenson. 

Glasgow served as Will County’s elected State’s Attorney from 1992–2000, and once again as the elected State’s Attorney from 2004 to the present. He currently is serving his fourth term. He received his Juris Doctor from Northern Illinois Law School and his undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois. He has been practicing law since 1981.

Assistant State’s Attorney Colleen Griffin

Assistant State's Attorney Colleen Griffin

Assistant State’s Attorney Colleen Griffin

Assistant State’s Attorney Colleen Griffin has honed her expertise in the area of post conviction and appellate court work over a legal career that spans 23 years. She will argue the state’s case during Wednesday’s Third District Appellate Court hearing. 

Prior to accepting a position with Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow’s office, Griffin served eight years with the Illinois Attorney General’s Office, where she was assigned to the Criminal Appeals Division. While working for the Attorney General, she argued before the Illinois Supreme Court as well as before various Appellate Courts throughout Illinois. She also appeared in judicial circuits across the state on state habeas corpus and post-conviction matters.  

As an Assistant Attorney General, Griffin also handled federal habeas corpus actions in Federal District Court and before the U.S. Appellate Court for the Seventh Circuit. She has argued numerous cases in the Seventh Circuit. In addition she served as Second Chair before the U.S. Supreme Court in McArthur v. Illinois, 531 U.S. 326 (2001) for which she drafted the petition for Writ of Certiorari.

Griffin also served in the Illinois Appellate Court’s Office for nine years where she conducted research and wrote opinions and Supreme Court Rule 23 orders for Appellate Court Justices in the First Appellate District.  

She also served for two years in the Illinois Appellate Prosecutors Office where she wrote Appellate Court Briefs and argued before the Second District Appellate Court for the various counties within that district.    

Griffin received her law degree from John Marshall Law School in Chicago in 1988. She has worked for the Will County State’s Attorney’s Office for four years as a prosecutor in State’s Attorney Glasgow’s Narcotics Unit. Late last year, she took over Post Conviction and Appellate Court duties on behalf of the office.

Joliet man guilty in 2009 murder

January 31

JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow announced today that a jury has found a Joliet man guilty of first-degree murder for gunning down a man in 2009.

Tyrone Henderson, 31, also was found guilty of home invasion, criminal trespass to residence, aggravated unlawful use of a weapon and being an armed habitual criminal. He faces 45 years to life in prison when he is sentenced by Associate Judge Edward Burmila on April 5.

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.

Assistant State’s Attorneys Sara Shutts and Alyson DeBell secured the conviction in this case.

Will County Children’s Advocacy Center seeking sponsors for bigger and better Men Who Cook competition at new Mokena venue

January 18

JOLIET – The Will County Children’s Advocacy Center is seeking sponsors at all levels for what is expected to be the biggest and the best-ever Men Who Cook culinary competition and fundraiser.

Due to the extraordinary popularity of this event, this year’s Men Who Cook will be held at a new and larger venue: Pipefitters Local #597 Training Center at 10850 187th Street in Mokena. It will be held from 6-9 p.m. on Saturday, March 26.

“Men Who Cook has turned out to be the most fun and exciting fundraiser in Will County,” said State’s Attorney James Glasgow. “Last year’s competition was so well attended that we had to find a larger venue to accommodate all the guests and cooks.”

At Men Who Cook, local guys who know their way around the kitchen open up their secret recipe boxes, don their chef’s hats and prepare their favorite dishes for public judging. It is an affordable, fun and casual competition that draws guests and amateur cooks from throughout Will County.

The event provides excellent sponsorship opportunities for local businesses and organizations. Sponsorship levels range from $250 to $2,500 and offer escalating levels of recognition for your business or organization through Men Who Cook promotional materials as well as during the event.

Organizations that already have agreed to sponsor this year’s Men Who Cook include: Rasmussen College at the Master Chef Level; Northern Illinois Steel Supply Company at the Master Chef Level; and Will County Take Back the Night at the Iron Chef Level.

Generous in-kind sponsors include Pipefitters Local #597 Training Center-Mokena, WJOL Radio, Bugle Newspapers and Signs by Tomorrow.

All proceeds benefit the Will County Children’s Advocacy Center, which was established by State’s Attorney Glasgow in 1995 to improve the way child abuse cases are investigated. 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 child 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.

Be sure to keep March 26 open for Men Who Cook. The cost to taste bite-sized samples of fine cuisine from local chefs is $35 per person; $60 per couple.

Guests this year will receive the Red Carpet treatment when they are greeted by WJOL’s Lynne, Mary and Natalie, who will serve as the evening’s hostesses. All cooks will be interviewed for local cable television.

Cooks are encouraged to turn up the heat in the competition not only by demonstrating their culinary prowess. A prize also will be awarded for the cook with the most creative display.

For details on how to sponsor this exciting event, please call the Will County Children’s Advocacy Center at (815) 774-4565. Or you can visit the center on the Web at, or on Facebook at

Dine at Heroes West on Jan. 31 and benefit the Will County Children’s Advocacy Center

January 11

JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow will visit Heroes West Sports Grill during the lunch hour on Monday, Jan. 31, where he expects to enjoy a great meal that will benefit the Will County Children’s Advocacy Center. 

Heroes West is hosting its Heroes Helps event on that day during which 10 percent of the sales generated by participating diners will be donated to the Will County Children’s Advocacy Center. 

Heroes Helps is open to the entire community, and diners only need to inform their server that they wish for their meal to benefit the Children’s Advocacy Center. In addition, all participating guests will be entered in a drawing, and one lucky winner will receive a $25 Heroes West gift card.

State’s Attorney Glasgow and members of his staff will be at Heroes West during the lunch hour on Jan. 31 to say hello to patrons and to thank participating diners for their support. 

The Will County Children’s Advocacy Center provides a safe haven where children who have suffered sexual abuse or severe physical abuse can tell their stories to trained professionals in a non-threatening, non-suggestive environment. Their videotaped statements have been used to prosecute hundreds of child predators over the past 16 years.

“The not-for-profit Will County Children’s Advocacy Center depends on fund raisers like Heroes Helps to enable its dedicated staff to continue its critical mission of keeping our children safe,” said State’s Attorney Glasgow, who founded the Center in 1995.  “Heroes West allows the community to support the Center and have some fun in the process.” 

Heroes West Sports Grill is open from 11 a.m. to midnight and is located at 1530 Commerce Lane in Joliet at the intersection of Interstate 80 and Houbolt Road. 

The Will County Children’s Advocacy Center is a 501-c-3 non-profit organization. The center relies on grants, local funding, foundations and fund raisers to operate. The center also is a member of United Way of Will County.

For more information about the Heroes Helps event, contact the Will County Children’s Advocacy Center at (815) 774-4565. Or visit the center on the Web at

Bolingbrook man pleads guilty to DUI crash that killed sleeping woman

January 11

JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow announced today (Friday, January 7, 2011) that a Bolingbrook man who caused a drunken driving crash that killed a woman sleeping in her bed has pleaded guilty.

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

He faces between three and 14 years in prison when he is sentenced by Circuit Judge Amy Bertani-Tomczak on March 12. Under Illinois law, a prison sentence shall be imposed, unless the judge determines extraordinary circumstances exist that require the defendant be placed on probation.

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. 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.

“Luis Benito’s callous decision to drive while he was drunk resulted in the tragic death of an innocent woman who should have been safe while she slept in her own bed,” said State’s Attorney Glasgow. “This horrific crash killed Josefina Prospero, and we will be seeking a significant prison term.”

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant State’s Attorney Fred Harvey.