State Briefs 1/10/08

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

Police investigating teacher-student relationship

NORMAL -- Authorities in McLean County are investigating an allegedly inappropriate relationship between a male teacher and female high school student that was reported last month.

Few details were available Wednesday, though officials confirmed no arrests had been made. The McLean County Unit School District 5 teacher, however, has been suspended indefinitely, as mandated by district protocol.

"It was Dec. 21 that Unit 5 made us aware of a possible crime, and we're investigating it," Normal Assistant Police Chief Kirk Ijams said. "At this point, it's not been determined whether a crime occurred or not."

The teacher was employed at Parkside Junior High School.

In a news release, Niehaus said the teacher was a 15-year veteran who passed all required background checks when he was hired. The age or grade of the alleged victim was not released, nor was the high school she attended identified.

Two other Unit 5 teachers have recently been arrested for alleged sex crimes, one with students. Jon White, a former first-grade teacher at Colene Hoose Elementary School in Normal, faces several charges in McLean and Champaign counties for allegedly molesting his students. His case is pending.

James C. Love, a minister and former substitute teacher for Unit 5 and other schools, has been charged with sedating and molesting several boys, as well as producing child pornography. His case also is pending in state and federal courts.

Journal Star, Peoria

Suspect named in overnight shooting

SPRINGFIELD -- Police officers and U.S. marshals are seeking Anthony Alves, 18, in connection with the Wednesday evening murder of Keith Watson, 35, of Springfield.

Alves' last known address was the 200 block of West Allen St. in Springfield, police said.

A warrant for Alves' arrest on first-degree murder charges was issued Thursday. It carries a $2 million bond, said assistant state's attorney Jay Magnuson.

Watson was shot Wednesday night in the 1100 block of East Monroe Street. He was pronounced dead at St. John's Hospital. An autopsy was to be conducted later Thursday.

State Journal Register

Serial killer in court on 1978 murder

MARION — On Wednesday, confessed serial killer Timothy Krajcir faced two murder charges in Williamson County court stemming from the May 1978 murder of Marion resident Virginia Lee Witte.

Krajcir has been charged by Williamson County State's Attorney Charles Garnati with rape, strangulation and slashing of Witte with a knife in the incident.

If convicted, Krajcir will have the option of being charged by 1978 statutes or 2008 statutes. According to 1978 law, he could face 20 to 40 years in prison or a lifetime sentence pending circumstances, three years supervised release and up to $10,000 in fines. By current law, Krajcir could face up to 60 years in prison and $25,000 in fines.

Garnati has waived the death penalty as an option due to Krajcir's cooperation with the investigation.

Public defender Larry Broeking has been appointed to defend Krajcir.

Krajcir has been charged with five killings in Cape Girardeau, Mo., one in Paducah, Ky., and one in Carbondale. Another charge is expected in the 1979 death of a Reading, Pa., woman.

Marion Daily Republican

Student gets prison time for bringing guns to school

PONTIAC -- "Guns plus school equals prison" for the Odell teen who brought six handguns to Pontiac Township High School on Aug. 28.

Circuit Judge Harold Frobish used that sentence twice Wednesday afternoon, just before imposing a three-year term in the Department of Corrections on Sean R. Sullivan, 16, of Odell. The judge told Sullivan -- who had "a significant juvenile criminal history" and who had been released from 30 days' detention less than a month before bringing the guns to PTHS -- that the sentence might teach him a lesson "that you have been unwilling to receive until this time."

That was a reference to a letter Sullivan had written to be considered at sentencing: "I really don't think about the consequences of my action beforehand." The judge quoted that as he reviewed the factors in deciding whether to impose probation or up to five years in prison for Class 3 felony unlawful use of weapon.

Frobish discharged unsuccessfully Sullivan's juvenile probation sentence and told him that the prison term was "justly earned."

He received credit for the 135 days he had been in juvenile detention between his arrest the day of the incident that led to a Code Red of more than three hours at the high school until his sentencing in Livingston County Circuit Court, where he was charged and tried as an adult.

The judge made Sullivan eligible for day-for-day good-time credit and noted that the DOC in such sentences likes to "kick out" people six months early. Nonetheless, when Sullivan turns 17, on July 16, he will be eligible for transfer from a DOC youth facility to an adult prison.

Sullivan had pleaded guilty on Nov. 21 to all 12 counts he faced: six for having the guns on a school bus, six for having them in a school. At that court session, First Assistant State's Attorney Carey J. Luckman agreed to recommend not more than three years in the DOC.

The prosecutor stayed with that three-year recommendation Wednesday, telling the judge that Sullivan provided "very candid testimony" at the jury trial of co-defendant Martin Huerta Jr., 15, of Saunemin, who has been convicted on two of the 12 weapons counts he faced and sentenced to 30 months of probation. The two planned to exchange bookbags containing the guns, which Huerta had wanted to buy from Sullivan.

Luckman said he couldn't say if Sullivan "fully grasped the gravity" of putting deadly weapons into circulation but that it was also not his first time in court. He said he did not know if it was "enlightened self-interest or just doing the right thing" that made Sullivan testify at Huerta's trial.

Defense attorney Tracy Smith recommended probation, noting that Sullivan brought no ammunition to school and had no intention that "anything bad would be done with any of these firearms" but was just trying to make money by selling them. He said the teen was "extremely remorseful" and had continued his education during detention.

Frobish agreed, as he went through the factors he was considering in sentencing, that Sullivan intended no harm, but added that he could not have known for certain that ammunition might have been at the school, creating the potential for tragedy by bringing guns there.

The judge noted that Sullivan has been expelled for two years, and will have employment problems "and a host of other problems" in the future because of a felony conviction.

Pontiac Daily News

Dismembered body is that of missing man

LYONS -- Lyons police confirmed Wednesday afternoon that the partially dismembered body found Monday night in an impound lot in Joliet Township is that of a missing Lyons man.

Will County Coroner Patrick O’Neil said the man, identified as Gerardo DeLatorre, died of multiple blunt force trauma.

Lyons Police Sergeant Michael Chapiesky said DeLatorre’s wife reported him missing Friday and said she had last spoken with him about 1 p.m. Wednesday.

“We put out missing persons posters and then on Tuesday it was found,” Chapiesky said. “The Will County Sheriff’s Department had recovered a body in unincorporated Joliet Township and the body has been identified as our missing person.”

O’Neil said DeLatorre’s body will be released to the family when they make funeral arrangements.

Will County Sheriff’s Department Spokesman Pat Barry said the body was discovered after a Will County detective in charge of animal cruelty went to a Manhattan Township farm and discovered a Ford Navigator that was reported stolen. Auto theft personnel had the vehicle towed to Rendel’s towing lot at Illinois Highway 53 and Mills Road, Berry said.

“On Jan. 7, the manager or owners of Rendel’s was getting the vehicle ready because the insurance adjusters were getting ready to look (at it),” Berry said. “They noticed gas cans in the back and were able to open up the rear hatch of the Navigator (and found the body).”

The Ford Navigator was reported stolen Oct. 28 after a Joliet resident sold it to someone who paid with a phony check, Berry said. He said they don’t know where the vehicle has been between October and now.

Lyons Suburban Life

Eldorado man files lawsuit over water meter

HARRISBURG -- An Eldorado resident has filed a lawsuit against the city of Harrisburg, saying he slipped and fell in an old water meter the city failed to cover or maintain properly.

Scott Wiseman is seeking damages between $10,000 and $50,000 through the lawsuit, which was filed Jan. 8.

In the court action, Wiseman states he was working for S. I. Waste on Jan. 24, 2007, when he stepped into a water meter hole owned or maintained by the city of Harrisburg. Wiseman has suffered muscle, ligament, tendon and nerve injury as a result of the fall. His exact injuries and the location of the meter hole were not disclosed in the court documents.

The city should have covered the water meter or warned the public of the hazardous condition of the meter, the suit contends.

Harrisburg Daily Register

Peoria man surrenders after 4-county car chase

PEORIA -- A Peoria man led police on an overnight car chase across four counties before turning himself in to his parole officer Wednesday morning.

Brandon A. Cannon, 21, of 2313 W. Malone St. was arrested about 10 a.m. in an Illinois Department of Corrections parole office at 1115 N. North St., Suite C.

Cannon's chase started in the 900 block of East War Memorial Drive after he was reportedly spotted driving the wrong way on the street about 4:30 a.m. Officers later stopped pursuing Cannon after he left the city and crossed over into Tazewell County. When police found him again driving in the city, the chase was continued after he tried to strike a Peoria squad car with his own vehicle.

The chase moved into Tazewell County as Illinois State Police troopers followed Cannon along Spring Bay Road and Illinois Route 26 into Lacon, back across the river and on Illinois Route 29 back into Peoria. About 7 miles south of Lacon, he reportedly slammed into the passenger side of a

Peoria police squad car, damaging the front and rear doors. The officer, David Buss, was unharmed.

Shortly after 6 a.m., Cannon abandoned his car near East War Memorial Drive and North Central Avenue and ran off. He now faces charges of aggravated assault on police, aggravated fleeing and eluding, reckless driving, aggravated battery on police, criminal damage to property, no valid license, no headlights when required, improper lane usage, disobeying a traffic control signal and no insurance.

Cannon has been on parole since August for aiding and abetting/possessing a stolen vehicle.

Journal Star, Peoria

Two firefighters injured in residential blaze

DIVERNON -- Two Divernon firefighters were injured Tuesday night while battling a blaze at a property that had been damaged by fire the night before.

One firefighter badly injured his hand after jagged glass from a window fell and went through his glove. The glass sliced an artery and damaged a bone, Fire Chief Randy Rhodes said. The firefighter was treated at Memorial Medical Center in Springfield.

The second firefighter suffered a strained shoulder and went to St. John's Hospital to be checked out Wednesday, Rhodes said.

Firefighters were called to the vacant single-story house, which is under renovation, at 312 Lincoln St. just before 8:30 p.m. The owners were cleaning there earlier in the day, and when they drove past about later, they saw flames in the dining room area, Rhodes said. The fire was extinguished by 10 p.m.

On Monday night, firefighters were called to the same residence, where an unattached two-car garage was engulfed in flames. Firefighters think lightning caused the first blaze,.

State Journal Register