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September 2012 Archives

Judge Upholds Free Speech, Frees Occupiers!

It’s all a day’s work, right? In one fell swoop, Cook County Associate Judge Thomas More Donnelly managed to benchslap the Chicago Police Department for their hypocrisy, uphold the free speech rights of the Occupy Movement and dismiss charges against 92 protestors who violated the city’s 11 p.m. curfew for Grant Park, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. It remains to be seen what will happen to the other 211 protestors that accepted plea deals prior to yesterday’s decision.

Last October, the Chicago Police asked the occupiers to leave the Federal Reserve bank. They moved to the Bank of America building. They were then asked to move again. They went to Millennium Park. They were asked to move again. They then settled into Grant Park.

Chronic Speeder Gets 6 Months for Crash That Led to 'Julie's Law'

Speeding laws are like Rodney Dangerfield: No one respects 'em. There's a difference between a little disrespect and extending the metaphorical middle finger, however. Lukasz Marszalek, now 22, has extended that finger multiple times. One of those times, it cost a 17-year-old her life. Now, it will lead to six months in jail for Marszalek and harsher anti-speeding laws for everyone in Illinois, reports the Chicago Tribune.

In mid-2011, Marszalek was reportedly driving at least 76 mph in a 40 mph zone when he crashed into a Jeep that was making a turn in front of him. The Jeep's driver, Julie Gorczynski, was killed, just a week shy of her 18th birthday.

Elmhurst Mom's Botched Murder-Suicide Nets 20-Year Sentence

It would an unimaginable crime if it didn't happen so often nowadays. A mom, Cheryl Luchetta, 42, of Elmhurst, allegedly tried to murder her son before trying to kill herself. Fortunately, she failed in both regards, reports the Chicago Tribune. Luchetta drugged her son with a buffet of prescription and over-the-counter pills, and then tried to slit her own throat. But she didn't cut deep enough, and when she awoke hours later, called 911.

Luchetta's initial cover story was that an intruder cut her throat and drugged her child. Obviously, the cops didn't buy it. Luchetta eventually confessed to everything, and earlier this summer, she pleaded guilty to aggravated battery on a child in order to avoid an attempted murder charge.

Vaughn Guilty of Murdering Wife, Children; Faces Life Sentence

“You don’t know, ladies and gentlemen. You really don’t know what happened in the car. You really don’t know,” defense attorney George Lenard stated in his closing arguments to the jury.

Apparently, they did know — beyond a reasonable doubt. After seven hours of closing arguments, five weeks of trial, and more than 80 witnesses, it took the jury about an hour to find Christopher Vaughn guilty of the murders of his wife and of his three children, reports ABC 7 News. We’re guessing that the “lengthy” deliberations were mostly spent figuring out how to fill out the verdict forms.

5 More Jon Burge Torture Cases Reopened as State Pulls Funding

Former Chicago Police Cmdr. Jon Burge reigned over one of the darkest periods in the history of the city's police department. Under his reign of terror, his subordinates regularly beat and tortured suspects until they confessed. Many of those suspects were later proven innocent.

The City Council in July approved a $7 million settlement to pay off multiple torture victims. One of them spent more than 23 years in prison before being declared innocent. Now, five more cases are being brought back to court after torture allegations were substantiated, reports the Chicago Tribune.

Is Rapper Chief Keef's Instagram Sex Pic Child Porn?

Step away from the computer! No, seriously Chief Keef. Step away. Not only have you (or a hacker posing as you) managed to mock your rival's death via Twitter, but now, according to the webiste Chicagoist, you are Instagramming pictures of a groupie performing oral sex on you.

Yeah, we get that you were trying to be funny. But you are also under 18, which technically makes that snapshot child porn.

You're young, so here's something you may want to consider: Stop posting sex pics on the Internet. Though we haven't seen this photo, nor do we want to, note that even if you can't see your junk in your purported pic, it's still child porn.

Adel Daoud's Terror Arrest: Tried to Blow Up Chicago Bar, FBI Says

Judge not lest ye be judged. Yet, one can't help but label Adel Daoud, 18, of suburban Hillside, as an (alleged) idiot. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the devout yet misguided Muslim teen was arrested after plotting to blow up a bar in the South Loop. Have no fear Chicagoans; the city was saved by stupidity!

Daoud allegedly planned his plot via the Internet. He frequented jihadist message boards, read Al Qaeda's English language magazine, and communicated with a couple of fellow plotters via email and text message. One eventually agreed to provide him with a bomb after Daoud chose to target a bar next to a liquor store.

But when Daoud allegedly tried to detonate the bomb Aug. 31, he got the metaphorical middle finger from our FBI friends, one of whom had been working undercover as Daoud's "supplier." What Daoud thought was a bomb was actually a dud.

Concluding the Coldest of Cold Cases: McCullough Convicted of Murder

It seems the proof of his guilt overcame the glaring inconsistencies and possible defense arguments in the trial of Jack Daniel McCullough, also known as John Tessier. After the judge ruminated on the evidence last night, and closing arguments were made this morning, the judge's verdict came surprisingly quick: McCullough is guilty of murdering 7-year-old Maria Ridulph more than 50 years ago, reports the Chicago Tribune.

The verdict came despite some interesting inconsistencies. Jailhouse informants testified that McCullough told them he strangled the girl with a wire. But the forensic analyst stated that Ridulph died from multiple deep penetrating wounds to her upper chest and neck.

'Latin Kings' Drug Bust Results in 16 Arrests, More Than 40 Charged

The “War on Drugs” and Chicago’s recent emphasis on fighting gangs both scored a victory today when federal and local officials arrested 16 alleged Latin Kings gang members in connection with drug rings in the Chicago area, reports the Chicago Tribune. In total, 22 people are facing federal charges and 17 people face charges in state proceedings. It is unknown if the new state racketeering laws, which are targeted at gangs, will come into play in this case.

According to the Tribune, one ring, led by 31-year-old Damian Rivera, tried to distribute more than 12 pounds of heroin between March and June. Twelve people have been implicated in this distribution ring. Rivera’s operation was supposed to receive a 3,684-pound shipment of marijuana, but the U.S. Customs seized the shipment at the border.

Defending the Coldest of Cold Cases: a 1957 Murder

"St. Louis will have records of everything," Jack Daniel McCullough told the Associated Press. "If somebody would go there, it would exonerate me."

Not quite, Mr. McCullough. A fire 38 years ago destroyed the records of his Air Force entrance physical. McCullough insists he was taking the physical exam in Chicago back in 1957, when 7-year-old Maria Ridulph disappeared from her home in rural Sycamore.

What's a man to do when he's on trial for Ridulph's murder, and the only evidence of his alibi was destroyed in a fire?

Proving the Coldest of Cold Cases: a 1957 Murder

“The deceased Maria Ridulph came to her death by unknown means as a result of foul play at a place or places and time unknown and inflicted by a person or persons unknown,” a coroner’s jury concluded in 1958.

Not much has changed since then. At the time of the discovery of the 7-year-old’s body, there was little evidence left. She was abducted on December 3, 1957. Her body was discovered, badly decomposed, in the spring of 1958. According to the Chicago Tribune, the only clue to her abductor was her 8-year-old friend Kathy Sigman’s eyewitness description of a young man who introduced himself as Johnny.

Rap Spills Into Real Life, Teen Rapper Lil JoJo Murdered

His aunt said that Lil Jojo, real name Joseph Coleman, was going for a Biggie versus Tupac sort of rivalry with other area rappers. He wanted to get under their skin in order to increase attention to the rappers. In the process, he posted a video on YouTube where he brandished automatic weapons, made gang references, and threatened his rivals. His YouTube account also posted a video of him in a confrontation with a friend of his greatest rival: Chief Keef.

Hours after the latter video was posted, Joseph Coleman was dead, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. He was shot by a gunman in a tan sedan while riding a bike near his home.

Drew Peterson Guilty of Murder, Now Wait for the Appeal

The verdict is in, after months of motions, eons of evidence, and apparently just enough cumulative circumstantial proof: Drew Peterson is guilty of murdering his third wife, Kathleen Savio, reports the Chicago Sun-Times.

Like most murder cases, there was no smoking gun. There was no perfect proof. There was however, a whole lot of hearsay and second-guessing of prior medical examiners. Kathleen Savio was found in a bathtub. Her death was ruled an accidental drowning. After Peterson's fourth wife Stacy Peterson disappeared, the body was re-examined and he was charged with murder.

Shorty Wanna Be a Thug: Nine Year Old Charged With Murder

Is he the youngest person ever to face a murder charge? Not quite. According to the Post-Dispatch, that distinction goes to an 8-year-old in Arizona that shot his father and another man. Still, it's pretty shocking that a 9-year-old boy would beat an 14-month-old to death. It's even more shocking to hear that the 9-year-old will be charged with murder.

The details so far are sketchy. The 9-year-old was staying with family in Cahokia, Illinois. He was left alone in a room with the 14-month-old and reportedly beat him to death. The child died on Sunday. The older boy was charged on Tuesday.