State’s Attorney Glasgow Announces Initiative to Provide Legal Services to Veterans Assistance Commission

JOLIET – Based on groundbreaking legislation drafted by State’s Attorney James Glasgow to help Illinois veterans, Glasgow is providing legal counsel on an ongoing basis to the Will County Veterans Assistance Commission at no cost to taxpayers.  The legislation, signed into law in 2021, gives State’s Attorneys throughout Illinois the authority to provide legal assistance to their local Veterans Assistance Commissions.

“Previously, my Office did not have the statutory authority to assist our Veterans Assistance Commissions – which meant unnecessary costs incurred by our VACs who were forced to hire private counsel when that money could be better spent helping our local veterans,” Glasgow said. “The legislation I drafted gives State’s Attorneys throughout Illinois the authority to provide legal advice when requested to do so by their local Veterans Assistance Commissions. We can accomplish so much when community agencies partner and work together instead of operating in separate silos. There is nothing more fulfilling than actively helping our local veterans.”

The new law gives the State’s Attorney for the county in which a Veterans Assistance Commission is located the authority to render legal opinions on questions of law relating to matters in which the VAC may be concerned, at no cost to the VAC. Previously, State’s Attorneys in Illinois did not have such authority and as a result were unable to provide legal assistance to help their local VACs.

“Rather than simply say his hands were tied because the previous Illinois statute did not give him the authority to help us, State’s Attorney Glasgow proactively worked to change the statute so that he could help the VAC and our veterans,” said Will County VAC Superintendent Kristi McNichol. “This new initiative is another example of how the VAC and State’s Attorney Glasgow work together for the greater good of our veterans and the Will County community.”

Glasgow and members of his staff participated in the VAC’s December meeting with local veteran groups and will be joining each monthly meeting going forward. 

“This will guarantee that that we can guide the VAC and help them to avoid any potential legal problems that may arise, without the need for them to spend money on outside attorneys,” Glasgow said. 

Glasgow has worked with the VAC on numerous other initiatives to help Will County veterans. These include filing the petition that established the Will County’s Veterans and Servicemembers Court to provide critical counseling and treatment to those who served our Nation and struggle with mental health and substance abuse disorders; providing a new ADA-accessible shuttle bus and a van for use by the VAC to transport Will County veterans to the VAC Clinic and Hines VA Hospital where they receive necessary medical services; andestablishing a Valentines for Veterans program in which local school children make valentines that are given to members of our local veteran community.

State’s Attorney Glasgow with Will County Veterans Assistance Commission Supervisor Kristi McNichol.

State’s Attorney Glasgow Announces Jury Finds Convicted Felon Jasper Johnson Guilty of First Degree Murder in Fatal Shooting of Girlfriend

JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow announces that a jury has found Jasper Johnson, 35, guilty of First Degree Murder (a Class M Felony) in the fatal shooting of his girlfriend Kia Johnson in their Joliet apartment on June 5, 2017. The jury also found Johnson guilty on two counts of Unlawful Use of a Weapon by Felon (a Class 3 Felony). Members of the jury deliberated for about three hours after this morning’s closing arguments before reaching the verdict. 

The shooting occurred when Johnson, who claimed he was intoxicated, was playing with his revolver which was partially loaded. Despite having been told by the victim not to play with the gun, he manipulated the gun he knew to be loaded by spinning the cylinder, cocking the hammer, and pulling the trigger.  He fired the gun, striking the victim in the left side of the head. The victim subsequently died in the hospital as a result of the shooting.

“30-year-old Kia Johnson lost her life in a senseless shooting by a convicted felon,” Glasgow said. “When you pull the trigger of a gun pointed in someone’s direction, it’s not playing; it’s murder. I thank the jury for taking its job seriously, listening to the evidence, and convicting this murderer.”

Johnson will be sentenced to a minimum of 45 years. The next court date is February 3, 2022, for motions and scheduling of the sentencing date before Circuit Judge Sarah Jones, who presided over the trial. 

Glasgow commended Assistant State’s Attorneys Deborah Mills, Britt Florin, and Marie Griffin, Nichole Pasteris, Director of Victim Witness Services, and Gus Martinucci who provided technical support, for their commitment, long hours, and dedicated work in helping achieve justice on behalf of the victim in this case.

State’s Attorney Glasgow Announces Victim Advocate Jessica Gil Receives Award from Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists for Dedication in Assisting Crash Victims, Families

JOLIET – State’s Attorney James Glasgow is pleased to announce that Victim Witness Advocate Jessica Gil has received the Diane Mains Award from the Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists (AAIM) for her dedication in assisting impaired driving crash victims and their families.

“Jessica Gil deserves this important honor in recognition of her outstanding service and commitment to victims of impaired driving and their families,” Glasgow said. “I established our Victim Services Unit to provide the best possible assistance to victims who many times are traumatized and need emotional and practical support as they encounter our criminal justice system. Our victim advocates work each and every day to make the process less daunting and provide the support and encouragement needed by the many victims we serve.”

Gil was one of a number of victim advocates, prosecutors, police officers, and AAIM supporters from throughout Illinois to be recognized for their contributions in the fight against drunken driving.

“I am honored to have been selected by AAIM for this meaningful award,” Gil said. “Every day, the members of our Victim Witness Advocate team are supporting crime victims, witnesses, and their family members who need emotional support as well as assistance in finding needed resources. We strive to make sure victims receive the tools they need to recover.”

The mission of AAIM is to prevent deaths and injuries caused by chemically impaired or distracted operators of any motor vehicle or watercraft and to assist victims of these crashes in Illinois. The award received by Gil was named in honor of AAIM Victim Advocate Diane Mains who passed away in 2006. Mains’ daughter, Caitlyn, was killed by a drunk driver a week before her high school graduation in 2003. Mains turned her sorrow into action by volunteering for AAIM and speaking at Victim Impact Panels to court DUI offenders, as well as to high school students as part of AAIM’s pre-prom prevention programs.

State’s Attorney Glasgow Announces Sean Watson Sentenced to 13 Years for 2019 Armed Robbery of Joliet AT&T Store

JOLIET – State’s Attorney James Glasgow has announced that Sean Watson, 23, of Hazel Crest, was sentenced Thursday by Circuit Judge Bertani-Tomczak to 13 years in prison in the 2019 armed robbery of an AT&T store on West Jefferson Street in Joliet.

Watson and another man had entered the AT&T carrying handguns the evening of February 16, 2019, and stole cell phones from the store. The men were arrested at a residence in Chicago Heights after they fled the store and were tracked with the assistance of a helicopter unit from another law enforcement agency.

“Watson was already out on parole for the possession of a stolen vehicle in Cook County when he committed this armed robbery. We are seeing armed robberies, carjackings, and other crimes throughout the region committed by individuals who do not live in Will County,” Glasgow said. “We will continue to send the clear message to individuals who enter our communities for the purpose of committing crimes that, here in Will County, we put criminals who endanger the safety of our residents and business community behind bars.”

Watson will receive credit for 970 days served.

State’s Attorney Glasgow Announces Michael Smith Sentenced to 10 Years for Strangling Former Girlfriend and Taking her Vehicle Outside Joliet Amazon Warehouse

JOLIET – State’s Attorney James Glasgow has announced that Michael Smith, 60, of Chicago, was sentenced by Associate Judge Edward Burmila, Jr., to 10 years in prison on felony counts of Aggravated Domestic Battery and Possession of a Stolen Motor Vehicle, to be served concurrently, following a bench trial that concluded in June.

Smith also was found guilty of Domestic Battery, Reckless Conduct, Reckless Driving, and Interfering with the Reporting of Domestic Violence and was sentenced on these counts to 294 days, his time already served. He also will receive a credit for the time served with respect to his felony convictions.

Smith attacked a female coworker who he previously had been dating in her Jeep at the Amazon Warehouse parking lot in Joliet after she had given him a ride to work. While the Jeep was still in motion, Smith grabbed her by the neck and strangled her while she was driving. She struggled and he pulled the I-watch off her wrist to prevent her from calling the police. He again grabbed her neck and strangled her, climbing on top of her while she was in the driver’s seat. As she cried out for help, numerous co-workers intervened and pulled her from the car. One of those coworkers was dragged by the Jeep as Smith drove away, and thrown by the momentum of the moving Jeep into a parked car. Smith’s vehicle was later recovered in Chicago.

“Once again, we are seeing a tragic case involving domestic violence,” Glasgow said. “October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Last year, calls to the Illinois Domestic Violence increased by 16 percent. An average of 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in this nation. That equates to an annual total of more than 10 million women and men. Our Office vigorously prosecutes these cases to do everything in our power to assist domestic violence victims.” 

Glasgow commended Assistant State’s Attorneys Alexandra Molesky, Elizabeth Domogalla, and Lindsey Browning, as well as Victim Advocate Emma Rannells, for their commitment and dedication in this matter.

State’s Attorney Glasgow Announces Marcus Heckard Sentenced to Eight Years for Attempt Murder in 2018 Attack at Crest Hill Speedway

Joliet – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow announces that pursuant to a plea agreement reached Tuesday, Marcus Heckard, 49, of Joliet, has been sentenced by Circuit Judge Carmen Goodman to eight years in prison along with 18 months of mandatory supervised release for Attempt Murder, a class X felony, in the 2018 attack on a customer at a Speedway gas station and convenience store in Crest Hill.

In the 2018 incident, Heckard pulled a retractable steel baton from his backpack after a verbal interaction with the customer. Heckard proceeded to strike the victim with the baton, first on the legs and then in the head after the victim fell to the floor while yelling at the victim that he was going to kill him. When the victim got back up, Heckard again swung the baton and threw hot coffee at the victim from coffee pots inside the convenience store.

“We will not tolerate this sort of violence in Will County,” Glasgow said. “This repeat offender has been in and out of prison for more than two decades with multiple prior felonies, and is a scourge on society. Sadly, he has chosen the course of criminal conduct over being a contributing member of the community.”

Glasgow thanked Assistant State’s Attorneys Erin Krone and Amanda Tasker, Victim Witness Advocate Jessica Gil, IT specialist Gus Martinucci, and Administrative Assistant Traci Knutson for their work and dedication in this matter.

Heckard previously has been convicted for crimes including aggravated battery, armed violence, domestic battery, and unlawful delivery of a controlled substance. He will receive credit for 1171 days served.

State’s Attorney Glasgow Announces Christopher White Sentenced to Seven Years for Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse of 13-Year-Old Girl

JOLIET – State’s Attorney James Glasgow announces that pursuant to a plea agreement reached Wednesday, Christopher White, 40, of Mississippi, has been sentenced by Circuit Judge Daniel Rippy to seven years in prison – the maximum sentence available – for Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse, a Class 2 felony, of a 13-year-old girl. White also will be registered as a lifetime sexual predator.

The sexual abuse of the girl occurred in late 2015 to early 2016 when White, a friend of the victim’s family, was allowed to reside temporarily in the home in which the girl lived. White fled to Mississippi after the criminal sexual abuse had occurred.

“Twice this week, deviant child predators have been put behind bars for their heinous acts  – and in both cases, the children knew their abusers,” Glasgow said. “We’ve heard about ‘stranger danger,’ but in fact the vast majority of people who sexually abuse children are friends, partners, family members, and community members. More than 90 percent of children who are victims of sexual abuse know their abuser. That is why conversations about sexual assault and teaching our children about boundaries and empowering them to speak up is so critical.”

Glasgow noted that abusers tend to utilize a manipulative process called grooming to gain the family’s and victim’s trust, providing them with more access to the child. Grooming behaviors may include special attention, outings, and gifts, isolating the child from others, and filling needs and roles within the family.

“Grooming behaviors are not only used to gain a victim’s trust, but often are used to create a trustworthy image and relationship with their family and community,” Glasgow said. “Child sexual abusers are often kind, charming, and helpful. This doesn’t mean that you must be suspicious of every person who is kind to your child. But you should be on guard that this type of behavior is used by abusers to gain the trust of adults, give them more direct access to the child, and make it less likely that the child will be believed if they speak up about the abuse.”

Glasgow commended Assistant State’s Attorney Jeff Brown and Victim Witness Advocate Dannette Pasdertz, along with Forensic Interviewer Jackie Lundquist and the entire multi-disciplinary team at the Will County Children’s Advocacy Center, for their commitment, perseverance, and sensitivity in this matter.

White will receive credit for 1079 days served.

State’s Attorney Glasgow Announces Rocky Ponton Sentenced to 16 Years for Class X Predatory Criminal Sexual Assault of Pre-Teen Girl

JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow has announced that Rocky Ponton, 46, of Lakewood, Illinois, has been sentenced by Associate Judge Frederick Harvey to 16 years in prison for the Criminal Sexual Assault of a Child, a Class X felony, pursuant to a plea agreement reached today.  Ponton also will be registered as a lifetime sexual predator.

Ponton committed the assault when the girl was between the ages of 11 and 12. The victim, who is now 19, read a victim Impact statement to the Court.

“This vile creature preyed on this young girl during her formative years,” Glasgow said. “Although the victim has been forever impacted by his brutal violation of her as a child, her statement today in court is a testament to her inner strength and courage. Sadly, she is one of approximately 42 million survivors of child sexual abuse in this nation. We can, and we must, focus on prevention to stop this silent epidemic.”

Ponton will receive a credit of 1387 days for time served.

Glasgow commended Assistant State’s Attorneys Kelly Tebo and Mary Fillipitch, and Victim Witness Advocate Dannete Pasdertz, for their commitment and hard work on behalf of the victim in this matter.

State’s Attorney Glasgow Announces Michael Enoh Sentenced to Four Years in Prison for 2018 Criminal Sexual Assault of Lockport Woman

JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow has announced that Michael Enoh, 36has been sentenced to four years in prison for Criminal Sexual Assault, a Class 1 felony, in the 2018 sexual assault of a Lockport woman. Enoh was found guilty by Chief Judge Daniel Kennedy on January 15, 2020, following a bench trial, and sentenced by Kennedy on Tuesday.

Enoh, who knew the victim, had arrived at her residence on the evening of the assault and told her he needed to use the bathroom. After he was allowed in, Enoh proceeded to sexually assault the victim in her bedroom.

“This is a depraved act of cowardice and there is no way to compensate the victim for the nightmare she endured,” Glasgow said. “Everyone deserves to feel safe in their own home. One out of every six women in this country has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape, and more than 55 percent of these occur at or near the victim’s home. These disturbing statistics are shocking, and our office remains committed to prosecuting predators like Enoh to the fullest extent of the law.”

Enoh will receive a credit of 1711 days for time already served and will have to register as a sexual predator for the rest of his life.

Glasgow commended Assistant State’s Attorneys Kelly Tebo and Jeff Brown, as well as Victim Witness Advocate Danette Pasdertz, for their dedication and perseverance on behalf of the victim in this case.