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November 2009 Archives

Man Tosses Hot Coffee At Barista's Face

Starbucks baristas put up with quite a bit without complaining, all in the heated competition for your coffee-stained dollars. But no one making less than $10 an hour should have to suffer the pain and indignity of a piping hot cup of joe to the face.

But that is just what happened (Daily Herald), according to witnesses, shortly after a homeless McHenry County man walked into a Starbucks and demanded a cup of coffee and a roll. He received the coffee -- it's unclear whether or not he paid for it -- and then sat down but continued to "act as if he were agitated."

When a clerk came over to try to calm the man down, he allegedly threw the hot joe in her face, causing first- and second-degree burns. Two off-duty cops who happened to be present took the man down and held him until on-duty police were able to cuff and detain him.

More than two decades after the brutal kidnapping, rape and murder of 10-year-old Naperville girl Jeanine Nicarico, a DuPage County jury sentenced Brian Dugan to death, as reported by the Chicago Sun-Times. As can be expected after 26 years, Nicarico's mother was quoted in the Sun-Times article as finally finding some relief:

"This decision is definitely a relief for us. We are shedding tears, not of sadness, but of joy."

Regardless of your thoughts about the death penalty, which remains in moratorium in the State of Illinois (Chicago Tribune) after Gov. George Ryan halted the procedure in 2000, Dugan is one bad dude. Described as "a vicious monster" by state's attorney Joseph Birkett, Dugan was convicted of two other rapes and murders and suspected of other similar crimes.

Batman Brother's Prison Escape Foiled

It just keeps getting more and more bizarre for Matthew Nolan, brother of film director Christopher Nolan. While his brother's highly acclaimed Batman film "The Dark Knight" elevated his status in Hollywood, Chicago resident Nolan has had repeated brushes with the law related to fraud and even murder.

Nolan's latest foray into the spotlight was his attempt to escape, Batman-style, from Chicago's federal Metropolitan Correctional Center, where he was awaiting extradition to Costa Rica. Prison officials reportedly found a 31-foot bedsheet rope, a homemade harness, a razor and a makeshift key to unlock handcuffs, according to an article by the Chicago Tribune.  


Regardless of your views on the Second Amendment, it's impossible to ignore the scourge of gun violence in America's inner-city neighborhoods.

Gun crime in Chicago costs the community about $2.5 billion per year, according to research released last spring by the University of Chicago Crime Lab (Tribune). Also, according to the Crime Lab, at least 80 percent of Chicago murder victims in 2008 died from gunshot wounds. 

Rod Blagojevich And 'Honest Services'

Disgraced and oddly chatty former governor Rod Blagojevich continues to push his luck with regard to federal corruption charges. His defense attorneys are asking for a delay (Tribune) in his trial from June to September, not because of another self-parodying stage cameo (Tribune) or reality television (Huffington Post) appearance but in light of a pending trio of US Supreme Court decisions.

The issue at hand is the "honest services" provision of the federal mail fraud statute under which Illinois' gubernatorial superstar has been charged. According to the motion, as reported by the Chicago Tribune, a trio of cases deciding the fate of the honest services provision are before the High Court.

So what is the "honest services" provision, you ask?

DuPage County prosecutors described the actions of 19-year-old Chicago man Ray A. Moore as a "crime tornado" that left a trail of burglary, robbery and eventually murder. Moore's Chicago criminal attorney advised his client to turn down a plea bargain, hoping he could beat the rap on a technicality.

Well, that didn't work out so well for Mr. Moore, who was found guilty and sentenced to 50 years in prison, according to an article in the Daily Herald. His argument that he never actually touched James Keniski the day he died ultimately didn't matter to the jury, which found him guilty of murder, home invasion, residential burglary and robbery.

Moore and three other men entered Keniski's home on May 16, 2007 with the sole intention of robbing him. He knew one of the men, since he allegedly bought drugs from him, so Keniski let them in unaware of their intentions. Moore was friendly at first and watched "American Idol" with Keniski's wife. But once it became business time -- Keniski's wife heard a commotion from the other room -- Moore demanded money and credit cards.