Man gets 45 years in prison for gunning down his uncle

September 10

JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow announced Thursday that a Morris man who shot and killed his 49-year-old uncle in September 2009 has been sentenced to 45 years in prison.

Jason M. Gonzalez, 29, used a 9 mm handgun to shoot his uncle, Lance Goebel, roughly a dozen times at Goebel’s Manhattan Township home on Sept. 17, 2009. The victim’s wife found his body sprawled on the living room floor.

Prosecutors say Gonzalez also stole roughly $1,000 as well as Goebel’s vehicle on the day of the murder. The defendant and his uncle had been arguing about money.  Gonzalez, who had been living with Goebel and his family, had become upset because his uncle kicked him out of his house shortly before the murder.

Those testifying against Gonzalez at the trial included the defendant’s mother, who assisted Will County Sheriff’s detectives in taking a statement from her son after the murder. 

Gonzalez represented himself for two weeks during a jury trial before halting proceedings abruptly on June 19 to plead guilty to first-degree murder.

“Jason Gonzalez is a ruthless killer who returned the many acts of kindness his uncle had extended by gunning him down in cold blood,” said State’s Attorney Glasgow. “The defendant has a complete disregard for human life. Our community will be safer while he is in prison.”

Glasgow credited Assistant State’s Attorneys Fred Harvey, Chrstine Vukmir and Colleen Griffin with securing the plea and sentence that places this dangerous criminal behind bars. He also praised the Will County Sheriff’s detectives for an investigation that enabled prosecutors to put the defendant behind bars.

State’s Attorney Glasgow, Terry D’Arcy join Spanish Community Center for presentation, dedication of new Spanish Community Center van

September 10

JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow and Terry D’Arcy, president of D’Arcy Automobiles, have teamed together to present the Spanish Community Center in Joliet with a new van to transport clients to and from various community programs and social services provided by the center.

State’s Attorney Glasgow and D’Arcy, a community business leader and local philanthropist, presented the colorfully decorated 15-seat passenger van to Spanish Community Center Executive Director Elizabeth Nevarez during a dedication ceremony outside the center on Thursday afternoon. The van was blessed by the Rev. Jose Luis Torres Pedraza, pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Joliet, during the ceremony.

The van will be used to transport local youths to and from various programs and field trips, including a baseball program hosted by the Spanish Community Center. Transportation to and from the program has been a major hurdle for young people who want to participate in the program. The center also will use the van to transport local leaders to and from rallies and legislative events in Springfield during which they advocate on behalf of youth programs.

In addition, Nevarez said the center will use the van to transport homeless families to and from shelter services as well as for senior citizens who need medication and food pantry services.

“As a community-based organization that provides educational, recreational and social services to citizens from throughout the city, we expect this new van to serve an important role in our daily work,” Nevarez said. “We thank Terry D’Arcy and State’s Attorney Glasgow for their willingness to help the community through this donation to the Spanish Community Center.  These gentlemen are leading the way for others to follow in pulling this community together for a better and stronger Joliet and Will County.”

The State’s Attorney used money seized from criminals who were engaged in illegal activities to fund half of the cost of the van that was presented to the Spanish Community Center on Thursday. D’Arcy generously covered the remaining cost of the van from his dealership.

Glasgow and D’Arcy joined former Joliet Police Chief Michael Trafton in a similar venture that provided two transport vans for after-school programs at the Forest Park Community Center in Joliet. In addition, the State’s Attorney used forfeiture funds several years ago to purchase an ADA-accessible bus for use by the Veterans Assistance Commission of Will County.

“It is critical that we step up to help community organizations like the Spanish Community Center provide the programs and services that enrich our neighborhoods and that are so important to children, families and senior citizens,” Glasgow said. “We must eliminate the obstacles – in this case, basic transportation services – that prevent these organizations from performing their important work and reaching as many people as possible.”

D’Arcy added: “I am pleased we were able to help provide the van to the Spanish Community Center. It’s certain to help with the transportation needs for all the programs the center offers. Our intentions were to bring awareness to the Spanish Community Center with the graphics on the van showcasing some of the important services it offers.  This will help get the word out that the center is here to assist the people in our community”  

The Spanish Community Center is a community-based organization dedicated to providing educational and social services in Joliet. Over the last four decades, the Spanish Community Center has evolved from an agency helping only the Spanish-speaking people of the area to an agency providing help to the entire community. Today’s programs and services welcome all members of the community regardless of race or ethnic origin. For more information, visit online at

PRESS CONFERENCE ADVISORY State’s Attorney Glasgow, Terry D’Arcy to join Spanish Community Center for presentation, dedication of new Spanish Community Center van

September 8

WHEN:                      2 p.m., Thursday, September 10

WHERE:                   Spanish Community Center
309 N. Eastern Avenue
Joliet, IL 60432

The presentation and dedication will be held in the parking lot
on the west side of the Spanish Community Center.

SPEAKERS:             Elizabeth Nevarez,
Executive Director, Spanish Community Center
James Glasgow.
Will County State’s Attorney
Terry D’Arcy,
President, D’Arcy Automobiles
Oscar Bergasse,
Vice-President, Spanish Community Center Board of Directors

INFORMATION:     State’s Attorney Glasgow has teamed with Terry D’Arcy to provide a transport van to a local community center that provides important after-school services and programs for young people.

Additional details regarding the use of the van will be provided at the news conference. Community leaders are invited to attend. 

This event will also include a blessing of the new van before it is placed into service.

YESS Program Will Continue at Joliet Township High School with Support from Health Department and State’s Attorney

September 2

JOLIET – Community leaders banded together to save a valuable counseling program for Joliet Township High School students that was on the verge of elimination due to budgetary constraints.

Just before the start of the school year, Joliet Township High School officials received the devastating news that the mental health portion of the Youth Experiencing Success in School (YESS) program was to be eliminated.

Valuable mental health services are provided on-site at the high school campuses through the Will County Health Department as part of the YESS program. The Health Department began providing mental health services on-site at Joliet Central and West High School in 2005 as part of the YESS program, which was made possible through a five-year grant.

“Although the grant expired in 2010, the Will County Health Department remained committed to providing in-school counseling and mental health services through a full-time licensed clinician who supervises about 10 interns at both campuses,” said JTHS Superintendent Dr. Cheryl McCarthy.  “These valuable services have yielded amazing results since 2005, so when we learned the program was in jeopardy, we knew we had to take action.”

McCarthy called on the community for help, bringing together YESS partners and community leaders for a meeting in early August.  “We had to put our heads together to figure out a way to continue the services,” said McCarthy.  “We know the program works, and we didn’t want to see a change in supports for our students.”

The positive change in school climate has been drastic.  “Since 2005, fighting is down 69 percent, assaults are down 27 percent, and expulsions are down 67 percent,” said McCarthy.  “In addition, during the 2014-2015 school year, nearly 300 students received mental health services through the program and there was a 100 percent graduation rate for the seniors in the program.  This is just remarkable.”

To continue the program for the 2015-2016 school year, at the meeting McCarthy informed community partners that $100,000 was needed.  She pointed out that through the use of interns approximately $620,000 worth of services are provided to JTHS students.  

“It’s a great approach.  By using interns we are able to maximize our services for a fraction of the cost.”

At that meeting, Will County States Attorney James Glasgow, a YESS partner since the program’s inception, immediately contributed $10,000 in emergency funding to keep the program operating while community leaders worked on filling the $90,000 gap.  State’s Attorney Glasgow used forfeiture funding, which is money seized from offenders who were using it to conduct criminal enterprises, to pay for the program.

“The value of this program is tremendous when you consider the many benefits it brings to individual students, the Joliet Township High School District and the entire community,” State’s Attorney Glasgow said. “Our investment in YESS pays back immense dividends when you provide struggling students the counseling and assistance necessary to complete their homework and succeed in school. Those students will become valuable members of our community. The other option – to allow these students to fail – is something we can never consider when we have a proven and effective resource like YESS available to us.”

Glasgow and McCarthy next appealed to the Will County Health Board during an August 19 public meeting.  “We needed the board’s support as we sought funding, and we needed to share the value and impact of the program,” said McCarthy.

Will County Board of Health members and administration immediately saw the importance of continuing the program, finding money in the budget to complete the funding gap.

“The Will County Health Department’s Division of Behavioral Health provides many services to the community; however, the YESS program stands out because of the students served and the ability to provide those services on site,”  said Will County Board of Health President John J. Hines, Jr.  “There are many successful outcomes because of the YESS program and the Will County Board of Health remains committed to providing this service in conjunction with the Joliet Township High Schools for the 2015-2016 academic year.  The future of the YESS program depends on funding; however, the return on investment of this program is extremely high and should definitely be continued in future years.”

In the remaining months the high school district will work with the Will County Health Department to put a plan in place that will sustain this portion of the YESS program for years to come.  McCarthy will bring YESS partners and community leaders back together in April to review the entire YESS program and celebrate its successes.

Lisa Morel Las to take helm at Will County Children’s Advocacy Center

August 18

JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow announces that Lisa Morel Las has been selected to take the helm as the new Executive Director of the Will County Children’s Advocacy Center.

Las served most recently as the Chief Executive Officer for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Will and Grundy Counties. She will bring to the Children’s Advocacy Center her enthusiasm and expertise in managing and growing community-based, not-for-profit organizations.

During her 11-year tenure at Big Brothers Big Sisters, Las dramatically raised the organization’s community profile, secured more than $1 million in federal grant funding and spearheaded a successful capital campaign to purchase new office headquarters in Joliet. Under her direction, the organization also opened satellite offices to serve the needs of children in Grundy, Kankakee and Iroquois counties.

“Lisa’s tremendous successes at Big Brothers Big Sisters brought this important community organization to the highest possible level of service on behalf of local children who need mentorship and support,” said State’s Attorney Glasgow. “We’re pleased she will put her passion and skills to work for the Children’s Advocacy Center as we plan for the expansion of services to sexually abused children and their families.”

Glasgow established the Children’s Advocacy Center 20 years ago to vastly improve investigations into cases involving the sexual abuse of children. When children make an outcry of sexual abuse, they are brought to the center, where trained and compassionate forensic interviewers obtain an accurate statement in a neutral, non-suggestive and child-friendly environment.

Interviews recorded at the Children’s Advocacy Center have been used in the successful prosecution of thousands of child predators over the last two decades. In addition, the Center’s experienced staff provides children and families with counseling and other social services that enable the healing process to begin.

In her new role, Las will work closely with the Center’s newest addition, Jackson, a therapy dog that helps drastically reduce the understandable anxiety for children. With a new law that allows therapy dogs in the courtroom, Jackson could find himself on the witness stand with vulnerable children in the near future.

The State’s Attorney established the center in 1995 as a not-for-profit organization so that it will not impact Will County taxpayers.  As a result, the Center relies on private and public grants, donations and community fundraisers like the popular Men Who Cook event in March to provide its important services.

Glasgow said the new director will be tasked with substantially expanding community outreach and significantly increasing both public and private-sector funding for the Children’s Advocacy Center. Among a long list of goals is to secure funding to acquire a more child-friendly location that is not situated inside a government building. In addition, the State’s Attorney hopes to secure funding to hire in-house, specially trained investigators to assist in the handling of the Center’s cases.

“I’m excited for this amazing opportunity to lead the organization that State’s Attorney Glasgow brought to Will County 20 years ago,” Las said. “The Will County Children’s Advocacy Center provides vital services to the most vulnerable children in our community. It provides a powerful voice for victims of abuse, and it plays a key role in breaking the cycle of abuse through education and prevention programs. It’s a privilege to be able to lead an organization that advocates for children and helps to strengthen families.”

Las is no stranger to the Will County State’s Attorney’s Office. She served as the State’s Attorney’s Director of Public Administration between 1995 and 1999 and was instrumental in securing federal grant funding that led to the establishment of the Will County Drug Court program.

Statement regarding investigation/charge in Joliet Pit Bull Case

July 31

Like everyone who loves pets, State’s Attorney Jim Glasgow was appalled by the horrific and eventually fatal injuries suffered by a pit bull named “America” who picked up a lit explosive device on the Fourth of July in Joliet, Illinois.

The Will County State’s Attorney’s Office has filed the strongest felony charge possible under Illinois law based upon the evidence that has been obtained by police and prosecutors up to this point. Upon conviction, the felony charge in this case carries a potential penalty of up to six years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.

State’s Attorney Glasgow has been aggressively fighting against animal cruelty throughout his career.  In 1999, he authored a statute that legally defined the torture of animals and made the abuse of an animal a felony for the first time in Illinois history.  It provides for a sentence of up to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $25,000. He also made certain the statute provides for a mandatory psychiatric evaluation of the animal abuser. As the caring owner of two amazing dogs, a Great Dane named Hobbs and a Border Collie named Maverick, State’s Attorney Glasgow is always ready to prosecute criminals under the animal torture statute that he wrote when the charges are warranted by the available evidence. He has immediately begun work on new animal cruelty legislation that would address the conduct like that alleged in this case and also adding much needed protections for therapy dogs and the newly authorized court service dogs. It should be noted that Jackson, our current therapy dog for the Will County Children’s Advocacy Center, will soon be utilized as a court service dog.
State’s Attorney Glasgow takes all allegations of animal cruelty so seriously that for years he has designated a dedicated and passionate prosecutor to intensively review and aggressively charge these cases based upon the available evidence.

The investigation into this case is ongoing.  When or if additional evidence becomes available, the State’s Attorney’s Office will review the case and give all due consideration to filing additional charges.

State’s Attorney offers $500 reward for information enabling Joliet Police to locate witness for trial

July 8

JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow announces that his office is offering a $500 reward for anyone with information enabling police to locate Marshaun T. Gaston, 35, of Joliet.

Gaston is a black, male with brown eyes, 6-foot, 3-inches tall, weighing approximately 207 pounds. He is believed to be in the Joliet area. Gaston is a key witness in a criminal trial that is underway.

Anyone with information on Gaston’s whereabouts is asked to call Joliet Police Investigations at (815) 724-3045. Callers may remain anonymous.

Gaston, Marshaun 

Canadian national pleads to Class X drug charge, gets six years

July 2

JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow announces that a man from Ogden, Canada has been sentenced to six years in prison after pleading guilty on Friday to unlawful possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver.

Sylvain Bergeron, 44, was arrested on Jan. 10, 2014 following a traffic stop for improper lane use on Interstate 355 near Homer Glen. A canine unit was deployed and detected the scent of illegal narcotics. A search of the vehicle uncovered a large amount of cocaine in a red duffle bag in the back seat. 

Unlawful possession of a controlled substance, the charge to which Bergeron pleaded, is a Class X felony that carries a minimum sentence of six years in prison with no option for probation.

State’s Attorney Glasgow joins Heartland Blood Centers, local mom to host blood drive on July 22

July 1

JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow, Heartland Blood Centers and Joliet mom Jennifer Babec are joining together to host a community blood drive from 7:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 22 at the Will County State’s Attorney’s Office, 121 N. Chicago St., in Joliet. 

Heartland’s mobile coaches will be located in the State’s Attorney’s Office parking lot directly across the street from the historic Rialto Square Theatre.

The State’s Attorney encourages anyone who works in or plans to visit downtown Joliet to take roughly 30 minutes to donate blood on July 22.

Appointments can be made by calling Jennifer Babec at (815) 325-4282
or by visiting Heartland Blood Centers at
Walk-in donors are welcome. Every donor will receive a $5 gift card to Target.

“The State’s Attorney’s Office is proud to coordinate with Jennifer Babec and Heartland,” State’s Attorney Glasgow said. “Our centralized location in downtown Joliet is convenient for people who work in local offices and governments facilities. I encourage everyone to take a little time out of their schedules to make what could be a lifesaving donation.” 

Jennifer Babec’s young daughter, Taylor, required 22 blood transfusions that restored her health and her spirits during her successful battle against lymphoma several years ago. Taylor’s cancer is in remission, but Jennifer continues to coordinate drives so there is an ample supply for others who need transfusions.

Heartland operates under a volunteer donor system and works toward collecting more than 172,000 units of blood annually with a commitment of meeting local blood needs. Participating in a drive with Heartland means that 100 percent of the blood donated is returned to the communities it serves. Heartland is the sole provider of blood and blood products for Silver Cross Hospital and Presence Saint Joseph Medical Center.

Man guilty of murder in fatal shooting outside Joliet boxing club

June 29

JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James W. Glasgow announces that a jury on Friday found a Lockport Township man guilty of first-degree murder in connection with the shooting death of a man outside a Joliet boxing club in 2011.

Jevon Lesley, 22, faces 45 years to life in prison when he is sentenced by Circuit Judge Sarah Jones on Sept. 16.

Lesley shot Anthony Fearn, 18, of Crest Hill, outside the KO Zone Boxing Club in the 200 block of Cass Street in Joliet on July 9, 2011. Lesley opened fire during a melee between Vice Lord and Gangster Disciple factions that erupted outside the club. Witnesses testified he pulled the trigger at least five times.

Fearn, an innocent bystander who had no connection to any street gang, attended a party at the club earlier in the evening with a friend. A bullet struck Fearn in the left arm and lodged in his chest, nicking both his lung and his trachea. He was shot inside a minivan that he had climbed inside to flee from the gunfire.

“This was a vicious attack by a violent gangbanger who demonstrated a ruthless disregard for the sanctity of human life,” said State’s Attorney Glasgow. “Jevon Lesley gunned down an innocent young man in cold blood outside that boxing club. This conviction takes a callous killer off our streets.”

During the four-day trial, prosecutors John Connor, Tricia McKenna and Ashley Kwasneski secured testimony from five witnesses who identified Lesley, know on the streets as Guru, as the shooter.

The State’s Attorney thanked his trial team for securing an important conviction. He also credited the Joliet Police Department for a topnotch investigation that brought Lesley to justice.