Custom Search

Friday, October 31, 2008

MEGAN'S SAY - daughter of slain Livingston Police Officer Caran Coward

Previous entry:
[TX] Officer Caran Coward killed in husband's murder-suicide

This blog gets a lot of comments. Officer Caran Coward's daughter Megan sent a comment after tiring of others commenting about the goodness of her mother's killer. I asked her if she'd like me to post this as a separate entry. She said yes.
Megan's mother was stolen, and she has a right to have her say.


To any one who claims Randy was a man of God listen. I had to live with this "man of God" you think he is. You only saw what he wanted you to see. Unless you live with some one you can't possibly know what they're really like. At home he was a drunk, he mentally abused all of us, and some times physically hurt my mother. Yes, he had mental problems, but my mother made sure he had the medication needed. It was his choice to take it with alcohol. T.J you have no idea what was going on in that house. You only saw the side of Randy he wanted you to see. He did get treatment for his "clinical depression". And just so you know the person's comment you replied to does know what they're talking about and has every right to judge.


Megan Corley
Caran's daughter

[OK] Police Chief Lee is a dv victim but is that clear cut?

...[Dustin] Chancellor said he found Lee in the police department with another [law enforcement officer] male... Chancellor stated "I'll tell you what's going on, [Okay Police Chief] Ron Lee and I was in a relationship"... Both men told deputies they didn't want to file charges, but Lee was told to leave and not return... both men had minor cuts... The report listed Lee as being angry, hysterical and threatening. The report said Chancellor appeared fearful, nervous and afraid... They described the fight as including destroying property, throwing objects, physical violence, threats and physical violence, kicking, slapping, pushing, shoving, and emotional and mental abuse...

ASSAULT CASE IN POLICE CHIEF'S 'RELATIONSHIP' PUT ON HOLD FOR TREATMENT
Tahlequah Daily Press, OK
By Bob Gibbins
October 31, 2008
The assault case of an Oklahoma City man was rescheduled for next month as he continues treatment, records indicate. Dustin Ray Chancellor, 25, was on Special District Judge Holli Pursley’s felony sounding docket this week. Court documents show the case was reset by the state to review the accused batterer’s treatment progress. His next court appearance is Nov. 24. Chancellor was charged March 11, 2005, with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, domestic abuse and malicious injury to property after former Sheriff’s Deputy Josh Tannehill took a report. Okay Police Chief Ronald Lee was the victim. Chancellor says the two men were in a “relationship” when the incident occurred. Chancellor allegedly hit Lee five times in the back of the head with a coffee cup and then tossed the cup through a glass door. An arrest warrant for Chancellor on the Cherokee County charges was active when he arrived last year at the Okay Police Department and confronted Lee. Lee was charged with being a public official neglecting his duty when he didn’t arrest Chancellor on the warrant. A Wagoner County jury convicted Lee on that charge and recommended a $250 fine. Formal sentencing is set Nov. 5, and Special District Judge Sandy Crosslin has also set that as the time to hear Bret Smith’s motion for a new trial. Smith represents Lee on the charge. [LINK]

Leading up to this - January up until earlier this month:

OKAY POLICE CHIEF ACCUSED OF HARBORING A FUGITIVE

KTUL
January 14, 2008
[Excerpts] The police chief in the Wagoner County town of Okay is in hot water after being accused of harboring a fugitive. The nine-page police report spells out everything that allegedly happened on the night in question outside the Okay Police Department. It started with a 911 call shortly after 11 o'clock Wednesday night.
(Caller) - "There's a fight, a fight in progress outside of the police service."
(Dispatcher) - "Where?"
(Caller) - "Okay Police Department."
Wagoner County sheriff's deputies responded to the call and found the two men -- one of them Okay Police Chief Ronald Lee and the other man Dustin Chancellor. In their report, deputies noted that Lee had a ripped shirt and responded 'get this (expletive) out of my (expletive) town.' Also in the report, Chancellor stated "I'll tell you what's going on, Ron Lee and I was in a relationship"... In their report, deputies also learned that Chancellor was a wanted man, with warrants out for his arrest. Wagoner County Sheriff Johnny Cannon says that's a conflict of interest. "To me, that's a neglect of duty. And, harboring a fugitive is a crime and knowing a guy had a felony warrant and not taking any action in my opinion is harboring"... [Full article here]

OKAY CHIEF CHARGED WITH FAILURE TO ARREST

Tahlequah Daily Press
By BOB GIBBINS
January 31, 2008
Misdemeanor charges were filed Wednesday afternoon against the Okay police chief for his alleged failure to arrest a man wanted in Cherokee County. Ronald Perry Lee, 32, was charged with public official neglecting duty and disturbing the peace. Prosecutors say Lee failed to arrest Dustin Ray Chancellor, wanted in a 2005 Cherokee County case. Chancellor and Lee were allegedly involved in a fight outside the Okay Police Department, Jan. 9. Wagoner County sheriff's deputies responded and asked the district attorney to file a felony -- harboring a fugitive -- against Lee. Prosecutors said they didn't believe the evidence supported the felony charge because Chancellor wasn't living with Lee, and he wasn't doing anything to hide Chancellor. They said the more appropriate charge is neglect of duty... Chancellor told deputies he and Lee had been in a "relationship" and lived together. Chancellor said he went to the police department and caught Lee with another man, an affidavit states. Both men told deputies they didn't want to file charges, but Lee was told to leave and not return. Lee moved his patrol car and then told deputies Chancellor was wanted in Cherokee County... Lee, who is listed as the victim in the case, is also the victim in a Tulsa County case where Chancellor is listed as a suspect. Lee and Chancellor were driving down the road and Lee was talking to another man on the phone. Chancellor believed Lee was having an affair, the affidavit states. The fight turned physical, and he was hit in the eye. Another incident allegedly occurred between the two men in Oklahoma City. The affidavit also states a Wagoner County reserve deputy was returning home from Muskogee when he saw an Okay police car with its emergency lights on being pursued by a dark-colored vehicle, honking the horn. No radio traffic could be heard between the Okay police vehicle and the dispatcher. The cars drove to the Fort Gibson Dam area, but could not be found by the reserve deputy... The Cherokee County warrant against Chancellor has not been served. [Full article here]

OKAY CHIEF'S 'FUGITIVE FRIEND' HAS TAHLEQUAH CONNECTIONS
Tahlequah Daily Press
By BOB GIBBINS
January 15, 2008
[Excerpts] ...Cherokee County court records show [Dustin] Chancellor has an outstanding warrant from a case filed March 11, 2005, charging him with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, domestic abuse and malicious injury to property. At the time, prosecutors alleged Chancellor hit Lee, identified as Chancellor’s boyfriend, five times in the back of the head with a coffee cup. Chancellor then allegedly tossed the coffee cup through a glass door... Former Assistant District Attorney Nikki Baker Dotson, now a Muskogee County prosecutor, filed the charges against Chancellor THREE YEARS AGO. [Full article here]

OKAY POLICE CHIEF ACCUSED OF HARBORING FUGITIVE
Muskogee Daily Phoenix, OK
By Donna Hales dhales@muskogeephoenix.com
January 15, 2008
[Excerpts] Okay Police Chief Ron Lee may face disciplinary action today for allegedly harboring a fugitive. The town board of trustees will hold a special meeting at 5 p.m. The board is scheduled to discuss and take possible action on the aftermath of Lee’s alleged role in a fight at the police station Wednesday. Wagoner County Sheriff’s deputies were called to the scene before midnight and later sought an arrest warrant against the chief. That request remained on Wagoner County Assistant District Gary Huggins’ desk Monday... The Sheriff’s Office alleges Lee failed to arrest a man Lee knew to have outstanding warrants in a neighboring county. Lee and the man, Dustin Ray Chancellor, 24, allegedly were fighting at the police station, according to deputies... Lee said until Monday he had no idea there were allegations against him by the Wagoner County Sheriff’s Office that had gone to the Wagoner County District Attorney’s Office. Lee declined further comment. Chancellor said he had been dating Lee and they once lived together, according to law enforcement reports. Chancellor said he found Lee in the police department with another male, a deputy’s report states. Chancellor said Lee had been dating the unidentified male. Lee’s shirt was torn and both men had minor cuts, reports state. Lee told deputies that Chancellor had held Lee’s gun against Lee’s head. Lee then advised deputies Chancellor had arrest warrants out for him in Cherokee County. Chancellor was allowed to leave when deputies could not find outstanding warrants. Later, however, deputies found outstanding warrants for assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, domestic abuse and malicious injury to property... Wagoner County Sheriff Johnny Cannon said Lee knew of the warrants and should have arrested Chancellor earlier. Lee was listed as an alleged victim on a supplemental domestic violence report stemming from the fight last week. The report listed Lee as being angry, hysterical and threatening. The report said Chancellor appeared fearful, nervous and afraid when he told Lee to calm down and tell deputies what was going on. They described the fight as including destroying property, throwing objects, physical violence, threats and physical violence, kicking, slapping, pushing, shoving, and emotional and mental abuse. [Full article here]

OKAY POLICE CHIEF FOUND GUILTY OF NEGLECT
Tahlequah Daily Press
By BOB GIBBINS
September 29, 2008
[Excerpts] A Wagoner County jury convicted Okay Police Chief Ronald Perry Lee, 33, Friday of being a public official neglecting his duty. Jurors found Lee not guilty of a disturbing the peace charge. A $250 fine and no jail time has been recommended on the duty neglect charge. A Nov. 11 formal sentencing date has been set. Lee remains as the town’s police chief. Special District Judge Sandy Crosslin presided at the trial... [Full article here]

OKAY POLICE CHIEF SENTENCING SCHEDULED FOR NOVEMBER
Wagoner Tribune
Zane Thomas
10/09/2008
[Excerpts]A Nov. 5 sentencing date is scheduled for Okay Police Chief Ron Lee, who was found guilty by a Wagoner County jury on Sept. 26 of a misdemeanor. Lee, 33, was found guilty of a misdemeanor charge of public official neglecting their duty after a 2-day trial... The jury recommended Lee be fined $250, but serve no time. Lee was found not guilty of a misdemeanor charge of disturbing the peace in connection with the January incident... [Full article here]

OKAY POLICE CHIEF SAYS HE WON'T RESIGN
Muskogee Daily Phoenix, OK - Oct 14, 2008
By Liz McMahan
Assistant City Editor
October 14, 2008 11:46 pm -
[Excerpts] Chief of Police Ron Lee said Tuesday night he has the support of the majority of the town and has no plans to resign... Lee said after the meeting he has been pressured by some of the community to quit his job and it has, indeed, been a difficult time for him.“The majority of the people I have talked with have asked me to please stay here,” Lee said. “As long as I have the support of the people in the community, I’m going to stay as a police officer in this community.” A petition circulated by citizens drew more than 200 signatures supporting Lee’s remaining as chief of police, he said. Even though he was convicted on the misdemeanor count, Lee said he doesn’t feel as though he has lost credibility as a police officer... [Full article here]

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Link to: Time to shatter the silence about cops who batter

Usually I carve down articles to excerpts to cut the fluff or give an idea of what the article is mainly about, but in this case there is more on the original site than I can indicate without stealing words - so what's here is just to lead you to the original blog:

Time to shatter the silence about cops who batter
Vintage Berry Wine, Open Salon
Daleen Berry
October 29, 2008
[Excerpts] When does a cop who crosses the line become a criminal? At what point should a department take action, and how serious should the consequences be? And when does it become acceptable for family members to expose habitual corruption because no one else will?... My marriage lasted briefly, because my out-of-control husband crossed the line at home. His actions on and off the job resulted in family tension that reached the breaking point in 1996, when a patrol car pulled up and four officers spilled out, guns drawn and pointed directly at him. I didn’t see it: I was safely across town after having filed commitment papers for him. But I’ve visualized that scene numerous times, after he told me about it from his locked hospital room as an armed guard stood nearby. Handcuffed and shackled, he promised to “never forgive” me for what he said would end his police career... Giving us an idea how such problems should be handled, the International Association of Chiefs of Police has issued a policy on police-perpetrated domestic violence. In July 2003 it outlined “a position of zero tolerance by the department,” noting that federal law prohibits cops found guilty of criminal charges from possessing firearms. Maybe that’s why many departments don’t take the hard stance they should when their officers are suspected of battering their families: they know few positions are available for cops who can’t carry (or even own) a firearm... And [Alaska Governor Sarah] Palin’s family problems show we’re long overdue for a national dialogue about this problem. Law enforcement is composed of a tight band of brothers, first and foremost loyal to each other. They should be: it keeps them alive in dangerous situations. So loyalty has its place — but not when cops expect their colleagues or superiors to look the other way while they bend departmental rules or break the law. That loyalty has no place within law enforcement, but seems to be the kind many cops find: My ex is again employed as a police officer and [Alaska State Trooper Michael] Wooten walked away with a five-day suspension. [Full blog entry on Open Salon here]

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

[CA] Ex-Chief Gundersen already in & back out of jail - for violating another court order

..."Mr. Gundersen has already been found guilty of violating a court order... " [Judge Bruce] Watson said he would expect someone who left town with a sentencing date of Wednesday to appear back in town on Tuesday. Watson questioned whether Gundersen's failure to appear was due to arrogance and feelings of being above the law... Darcie Seal, the alleged victim in the recent case against Gundersen, was sitting beside Gundersen prior to the hearing. She left the courtroom immediately after Watson's ruling...

(Previous Gundersen entries on the blog here)

GUNDERSEN POSTS BAIL, RELEASED FROM CUSTODY

The Times-Standard
10/28/2008
Former Blue Lake Police Chief David Gundersen posted bail and was released from Humboldt County jail Friday, just hours after being remanded by a Humboldt County judge for failing to appear at a Wednesday court hearing. Gundersen, who was convicted last month of battery and weapons charges, was free after posting $50,000 bail but -- after Gundersen missed his sentencing hearing Wednesday -- Humboldt County Superior Court Judge Bruce Watson remanded him back into custody, ordering his bail increased to $200,000. The former police chief's sentencing hearing has been rescheduled to Nov. 21, although a defense motion for a retrial is expected to be heard before then. [Full article here]

GUNDERSEN A NO-SHOW AT HEARING
The Eureka Reporter, CA
Oct 22 2008, 3:53 PM
Former Blue Lake Police Chief David Gundersen didn’t show for a Wednesday court hearing and will have a $200,000 bench warrant issued if he doesn’t show for a Friday hearing... Gundersen’s attorney Russel Clanton said he was traveling by car from Newport Beach, Calif., where he was visiting his ailing mother... Gundersen, 54, was released from the Humboldt County jail Sept. 29 after Judge W. Bruce Watson reduced his bail from $1.25 million to $50,000. He’d been in jail since his Feb. 8 arrest. A jury acquitted Gundersen Sept. 24 of all 24 counts of spousal rape with an intoxicant and one count of attempting to dissuade a witness. The jury found him guilty of 11 counts of battery – a finding based on nude photographs Gundersen allegedly took of his wife Darcie Seal without her permission – illegally possessing a machine gun and silencer and violating a court order to not contact Seal. [Full article here]

GUNDERSEN BACK IN JAIL, SENTENCING PUSHED BACK TO NEXT MONTH
The Eureka Reporter, CA
Oct 24 2008
Former Blue Lake Police Chief David Gundersen is back in jail today, after a judge agreed with the prosecution that Gundersen had no credible reason for missing his sentencing on Wednesday... Humboldt County Superior Court Judge W. Bruce Watson set Gundersen's bail at $200,000 and scheduled his sentencing for Nov. 21. Darcie Seal, the alleged victim in the recent case against Gundersen, was sitting beside Gundersen prior to the hearing. She left the courtroom immediately after Watson's ruling... Humboldt County District Attorney Paul Gallegos argued that Gundersen's thought process doesn't matter and asked the court to remand him so the probation report can be completed. "Mr. Gundersen has already been found guilty of violating a court order," he said. "He assumed the court would continue the matter regardless of whether there was good cause. Watson said he would expect someone who left town with a sentencing date of Wednesday to appear back in town on Tuesday. Watson questioned whether Gundersen's failure to appear was due to arrogance and feelings of being above the law. [Full article here]

BLUE LAKE TRYING TO SHUT DOWN GUNDERSEN'S CITY E-MAIL
The Times-Standard
Donna Tam
10/25/2008
Blue Lake city staff have been trying -- with no luck so far -- to shut down an e-mail account started and apparently still used by their former Police Chief David Gundersen. Staff have been trying to cancel the account “bluelakepd@aol.com” for the last few weeks, since it was brought to their attention. The account was originally set up to function as the e-mail address for the entire department, and is paid for by the city. Originally started by Gundersen, he is the only one who has access to the account, and, according to more than one recipient, is still sending mail from that address. Mayor Pro Tem Marlene Smith said a resident told her about receiving an e-mail from the account, and a similar report was received by the Times-Standard... City Clerk Karen Nessler said the e-mail service provider, America Online, is refusing to shut down the account under Gundersen's name without the correct codes needed to cancel the account - codes that only Gundersen has... [Full article here]

'ARROGANCE': JUDGE SENDS GUNDERSEN BACK TO JAIL FOR MISSING HEARING
The Times-Standard
John Driscoll
10/25/2008
Humboldt County Superior Court Judge Bruce Watson sent David Gundersen back to jail Friday after the former Blue Lake Police chief skipped a Wednesday sentencing hearing... Watson on Friday expressed concern that Gundersen's absence on Wednesday suggests he might be a flight risk, and decided to remand him to jail and set bail at $200,000. ”I wonder if it is in fact arrogance, a contempt for the proceeding or an attitude that what applies to others does not apply to him -- if that's the case, Mr. Gundersen should be remanded,” Watson said. “Obviously, the laws apply to all equally.” Watson agreed to delay Gundersen's sentencing to Nov. 21. Gundersen turned to his wife Darcie Seal -- whose initial allegations of rape made to investigators led to his arrest Feb. 8 -- and frowned. He then immediately turned away and was led out of the courtroom by a bailiff. The jury in September found Gundersen not guilty on charges of raping his spouse with the use of an intoxicant and attempting to dissuade the victim of a crime, but convicted the former police chief on 11 misdemeanor counts of battery, violating a court order and illegally possessing a submachine gun and a pistol with a silencer. Gundersen's attorney, Russell Clanton, has said he intends to seek a new trial... Gallegos pointed out that a jury had convicted Gundersen of violating a court order, and that his failure to appear Wednesday is the second time he had disregarded the court's direction. Watson chose to take a hard line with Gundersen. ”Quite frankly, I haven't heard anything very persuasive regarding Mr. Gundersen's absence other than that he wasn't there, and that's disturbing,” Watson said. “To me, I have a hard time getting beyond the idea of arrogance." [Full article here]

[NJ] Officer Segui-Cordero kills wife Nelda, their dog, & himself

...Segui-Cordero was a senior corrections officer at New Jersey State Prison in Trenton, according to the state Department of Corrections... Segui-Cordero's suicide is believed to be the ninth this year among law enforcement officers in New Jersey... Nelda Segui was a former employee at the New Lisbon Developmental Service [home for developmentally disabled adults]...

Police probe murder-suicide
phillyBurbs.com, PA - Oct 24, 2008
By DAVID LEVINSKY dlevinsky@phillyBurbs.com
Burlington County Times

PEMBERTON TOWNSHIP — A state corrections officer shot and killed his wife and dog Wednesday night, then turned the gun on himself, police said.

The bodies of Victor Segui-Cordero, 59, his wife Nelda Segui, 59, and their family dog were discovered by the couple's adult son at around 9:30 p.m. inside their home on Lakeview Boulevard in the Browns Mills section of the township, police said.

A gun and handwritten suicide note also were found inside the home, police said. The contents of the note were not released.

The husband and wife were pronounced dead at the scene, police said.

No additional information about the incident was released by police yesterday. An investigation is still ongoing.

There was no police tape or other signs of activity at the couple's white rancher home yesterday morning. Neighbors declined to comment.

Segui-Cordero was a senior corrections officer at New Jersey State Prison in Trenton, according to the state Department of Corrections. He joined the department in 1993 after working six years for the state Department of Human Services.

Nelda Segui was a former employee at the New Lisbon Developmental Service, according to a family friend, who asked not to be identified.

Segui-Cordero's suicide is believed to be the ninth this year among law enforcement officers in New Jersey.

Earlier this month, Gov. Jon S. Corzine established a 14-person task force to develop strategies to assist law enforcement officials to deal with stress and other mental health issues.

“If we are to maintain a ready and viable team of law enforcement professionals, we owe it to them to provide all the necessary tools to deal with every danger they might encounter — physical or otherwise,” Corzine said in a statement announcing the task force. [LINK]

[FL] Lt. Schrader charged with (escalating) stalking of his ex-wife

...she received an anonymous text message that read: "I told you we are watching out for the lieutenant... To have a lawyer do this to him is insulting to the thin blue line"...

..."The suspect has committed actions with the obvious intent to annoy, insult, and degrade her, to include creating a well founded fear in the victim that the suspect's actions are escalating"...


POLICE OFFICER CHARGED WITH STALKING EX-WIFE The Ledger
By Jeremy Maready jeremy.maready@theledger.com
October 22, 2008
A Lakeland police lieutenant was charged with stalking his ex-wife last week following an investigation by the Polk County Sheriff's Office and the State Attorney's Office. Lt. Ralph Schrader, 44, was charged Oct. 14 by the State Attorney's Office... Schrader, who is assigned to LPD's criminal investigations section, was hired by the department on Feb. 4, 1991. On Wednesday, Schrader reported to work as usual, said LPD spokeswoman Sgt. Terri Smith... From August 2007 through last month, PCSO investigators reported several cases of Schrader's stalking his ex-wife... Schrader's ex-wife claimed that he would follow her at close distances using his unmarked patrol car, make harassing phone calls, send threatening text messages and repeatedly cause verbal arguments, reports said. In another incident, the former wife claimed that her car had been keyed while in the Target parking lot in South Lakeland. A short time later, she received an anonymous text message that read: "I told you we are watching out for the lieutenant. He will not call you. Why hide your affair? To have a lawyer do this to him is insulting to the thin blue line." The most recent incident, dated Sept. 14, Schrader started an argument with his former wife's friend at the friend's apartment in South Lakeland. According to PCSO reports, the incident escalated to the point where Schrader's ex-wife thought she was going to be attacked. That incident is being investigated by LPD, reports said. Another internal investigation involving Schrader, not related to these incidents, is also being conducted by LPD investigators, Smith said. Details about the second investigation have not been released. "Based on the above information, it is clear that the suspect (Schrader) has intended to cause the victim severe emotional distress," PCSO Detective Paul Dunn said in the affidavit. "The suspect has committed actions with the obvious intent to annoy, insult, and degrade her, to include creating a well founded fear in the victim that the suspect's actions are escalating." Schrader has been charged with one count of stalking, a misdemeanor. He will be notified of the charge with a court summons, Smith said... [Full article here]

[FL][CT] Ex-Officer Lane gets 30 years after trying to kill quiet Karen

...She was outside on a sidewalk when she turned and saw him take a .45-caliber Glock out of his pocket and aim. "You're dead," she heard him say... Keith Lane fired one round... Assistant State Attorney Michael Kenny showed the jury pictures of Karen Lane's battered body taken at the time of shooting. One showed a cut over her left eye; others depicted huge bruises on her thigh, arm and back... Circuit Judge Thane] Covert gave the defendant his thoughts on the case. "This is a woman who lived with you and under domination for 40 years... Forty years of your controlling manipulation and domination such that she wouldn't even fight back against you"... She never reported any of this to the police...

Pasco County Law enforcement and Courts made no exception for Keith Lane ever having been an officer. The only time he came to their attention, they handled it.

FIRST, FROM 2006:

MAN, 63, ACCUSED OF SHOOTING AT WIFE

St. Petersburg Times (FL)
Thursday, March 30, 2006
A 63-year-old man was charged Tuesday with attempted homicide and domestic battery after he tried to shoot his wife, the Pasco County Sheriff's Office said. Deputies were dispatched to a shots fired call at 6:50 p.m. and spoke to Karen Lane , an affidavit said. Lane and her husband, Keith Allen Lane , of 6229 Lonnie Lee Lane , had been arguing, the Sheriff's Office affidavit said, and he pushed her against a wall. Karen Lane ran outside between her home and a neighbor's home, where her husband followed her, the affidavit said. She saw her husband pull out a black semiautomatic Glock handgun that he brought up to eye level and aimed at her, the affidavit said. Keith Lane fired one round but did not strike his wife, the affidavit said. Karen Lane ran to her neighbor's back yard, the affidavit said. The neighbor, who was sitting on a lanai, brought Karen Lane inside and called 911, the affidavit said. Keith Lane was arrested at 10500 Tapestry Drive. He is being held without bail at the Land O'Lakes jail.

NOW:

PASCO MAN FOUND GUILTY IN SHOOTING OF WIFE

The Tampa Tribune
By Todd Leskanic
Tampa Bay Online
Sept. 18, 2008
[Excerpts] By 2006, Karen Lane had endured years of unreported manipulation, threats and abuse at the hands of her husband, Keith. Still, she wavered about divorcing her spouse of 43 years. In the end, Keith Lane's irrepressible temper made the decision for her. During a final tirade on March 28, 2006, he pointed a .45-caliber Glock at his wife and fired. The bullet missed, but Keith Lane, a former police officer, wound up in jail, charged with attempted first-degree murder. On Wednesday, a Pasco County jury needed only an hour of deliberation to find him guilty. Now, the 65-year-old faces a minimum of 20 years in prison when he is sentenced Oct. 24... Court documents show that Karen Lane was a prisoner to her husband's tirades. In a deposition, she talked about how her husband would put a gun to her head, call her names and beat her. But she never reported anything, or even told a friend... "He told me he was going to kill me all the time. He used the gun to chase me around the house." During this week's trial, Assistant State Attorney Michael Kenny showed the jury pictures of Karen Lane's battered body taken at the time of shooting. One showed a cut over her left eye; others depicted huge bruises on her thigh, arm and back... The day before the shooting, they had driven to an attorney's office to again try to begin divorce proceedings... Lane testified that he pushed and kicked her throughout the house. At one point, he pinned her to a wall and said, "This is it for you," she said. She broke away from him and ran out the front door. Karen Lane testified that she glanced back to see whether her husband was following and saw him raising a gun to aim. At the same time, she heard him say, "You're dead." A gunshot followed. Karen Lane ran next door, and the neighbors helped her dial 911. Keith Lane has been in custody since then... [Full article here]

PASCO MAN GETS 30 YEARS FOR TRYING TO KILL WIFE
Tampabay.com, FL
By Michael Kruse mkruse@sptimes.com
Saturday, October 25, 2008
[Excerpts] What happened late Friday afternoon in Courtroom 3A at the West Pasco Judicial Center was the merciful end to a tale of twisted love and relentless domestic abuse. Keith Lane, 65, sat on one side of the courtroom with his two defense attorneys. Karen Lane, 63, sat on the other side of the courtroom with her two victim advocates. They were married in 1963. They had two children together. He was a police officer in Connecticut before they moved down here in 1999 and bought a home in Hudson and another one in Port Richey. On Friday, though, Keith Lane was sentenced to 30 years in prison for trying to kill Karen Lane by pointing a pistol at her and pulling the trigger... He was controlling, abusive and violent, she said in a deposition last year. He punched her. He called her names. He pulled her hair. He told her what to wear. He would, she said, step on her feet and push her backwards. She was so bruised so much of the time that she almost always wore long-sleeved shirts. Once, she said, he threw her makeup, her toothbrush and her blow-dryer into the toilet and urinated on them. Another time, she said, he pushed her to the floor of the bathroom and threatened to shave off all her hair. He found a man on the Internet, she said, and had him come over and have sex with her. He videotaped it. She never reported any of this to the police. She never told family. She never told friends. "We were little kids when I fell in love with him," she said in the deposition. "He's my soul mate"... Karen Lane for most of the hearing kept her head in her hands and looked down at the ground by her feet. She said nothing. Judge Covert, thin-eyed and intense in delivering his ruling, called Keith Lane "manipulative," "arrogant" and "self-centered." "You," the judge told him, "are a textbook example of an abuser. "And that's all you are." Michael Kruse can be reached at or (727) 869-6244. [Full article here]

HUSBAND GETS 30-YEAR TERM IN SHOOTING
The Pasco Tribune
By TODD LESKANIC tleskanic@tampatrib.com
October 25, 2008
[Excerpts] Keith Lane rambled on for 10 minutes, trying to convince Circuit Judge Thane Covert that he was worthy of mercy. Lane, a former police officer, called himself a good man, a good father and a good husband... [Circuit Judge Thane] Covert gave the defendant his thoughts on the case. "This is a woman who lived with you and under domination for 40 years," Covert said. "Forty years of your controlling manipulation and domination such that she wouldn't even fight back against you. You are a textbook example of an abuser, that's all you are. You're not apologetic for anything you have done." With that, Covert sentenced Lane to 30 years in prison... [Full article here]

[CA] Hopping cop Rubio & wife Ashley charged with visitation child abuse

...Detectives say police got involved when the boy's mother, a Colusa County Sheriff's Department employee, noticed the bruises... Rubio surrendered to authorities on Oct. 22 in Colusa County on allegations of felony infliction of corporal injury upon a child and misdemeanor child endangerment charges... Scott Corey, a police spokesman says, "We do particularly hold that standard for police officers, they should be respecting the laws they are enforcing... Rubio was a Woodland police officer for five years prior to being hired in Suisun City and a Yolo County sheriff's deputy before that...

OFFICER CHARGED IN CHILD-ABUSE CASE
TheReporter.com, CA
10/28/2008
[Excerpts] A Suisun City police officer has been charged with abusing his 5-year-old son. Engelberto Rubio Jr., hired three months ago, was in the midst of an 18-month probationary period when police officials learned earlier this month of the allegations against him in Colusa County, where Rubio lives... Rubio surrendered to Colusa authorities on Oct. 22 and faces a felony charge of corporal injury to a child and a misdemeanor charge of child endangerment. Ashley Nicole Rubio, the officer's wife and the child's stepmother, faces a count of child abuse/endangerment... Rubio formerly worked for the Woodland Police Department and Yolo County Sheriff's Department. His arraignment is set for Nov. 18. [Full article here]

OFFICER AND WIFE ARRESTED ON CHILD ABUSE CHARGES
CBS13.com, CA
Andrea Menniti
Oct 24, 2008
Suisun City Police officer Engleberto Rubio Jr. is accused of abusing his five-year-old son. The boy's step mom, Ashley Rubio is also facing charges. Investigators say the abuse took place in the pair's College City home. Detectives say police got involved when the boy's mother, a Colusa County Sheriff's Department employee, noticed the bruises. "When he [boy] came home after visitation he had numerous bruises that were great concern," said John Poyner, Colusa County District Attorney. The Suisun Police Department has placed Rubio on unpaid leave for a month. Scott Corey, a police spokesman says, "We do particularly hold that standard for police officers, they should be respecting the laws they are enforcing." The Colusa County District Attorney's office booked the Rubios into jail, but let them go on a promise to appear. [LINK]

STATEMENT REGARDING OFFICER ENGELBERTO RUBIO, JR.
SUISUN CITY NEWS
October 24, 2008
On Oct. 16, Suisun City Police Officer Engelberto Rubio Jr. began a 30-day unpaid administrative leave after the Suisun City Police Department learned of impending child abuse charges in Colusa County, his county of residence. Rubio surrendered to authorities on Oct. 22 in Colusa County on allegations of felony infliction of corporal injury upon a child and misdemeanor child endangerment charges. "This is a very difficult situation for the Suisun City Police Department, as it is with any employer," said Public Information Officer Scott Corey. "We can't control what happens to our employees during their off-duty hours. Obviously, we expect them to conduct their affairs in a lawful and ethical manner." Rubio was hired approximately three months ago and was in the midst of an 18-month probationary assignment standard for all newly hired Police Department employees. When the Colusa County District Attorney's Office contacted the Suisun City Police Department earlier this month to notify officials regarding the allegations, Rubio was removed from street patrols and assigned to administrative duties. On Oct. 16, the Colusa County District Attorney Office indicated there was sufficient evidence to bring charges. Rubio began an unpaid leave to provide time to resolve the matter. If the charges are not resolved during his leave, Rubio may either resign or be terminated from his Suisun City employment. [LINK]

COP CHARGED IN CHILD ABUSE CASE
FATHER IN ALLEGED ABUSE IS A POLICE OFFICER
Colusa County Sun Herald
By Rob Parsons rparsons@tcnpress.com
Friday, Oct 24 2008
[Excerpts] ...The District Attorney's Office conducted the investigation because the alleged victim's biological mother is an employee of the Colusa County Sheriff's Office, said District Attorney John Poyner. "They didn't feel it would be appropriate, so we agreed to handle it," Poyner said... The alleged victim is staying with his mother and reportedly is in good condition, Poyner said. Rubio became a Suisun City police officer less than three months ago, said Commander Tom Mattos of the Suisun City Police Department. Mattos said Rubio is on a 30-day unpaid leave of absence effective last Friday, two days after the charges were filed. Rubio requested the leave of absence for personal reasons, Mattos said. Rubio was a Woodland police officer for five years prior to being hired in Suisun City and a Yolo County sheriff's deputy before that, Mattos said... [Full article here]l

Monday, October 27, 2008

[NY] Firefighter Faulkner's attorney wife Jodi Mosiello suing him, his friend, & police

...The lawsuit alleges that Faulkner, her husband at the time, conspired with John Darcy to tell Police Officer Charles Carroll that Mosiello struck him. The lawsuit also claims that it was Faulkner who verbally abused and pushed her, prompting her call to police... Mosiello's lawsuit also accuses the Yonkers police of negligence...

FORMER YONKERS COUNCIL CANDIDATE SUES CITY, EX-HUSBAND, CLAIMING THEY RUINED HER REPUTATION
Lower Hudson Journal news, NY
By Ernie Garcia
October 22, 2008
[Excerpts] A former City Council candidate is suing the city and her ex-husband, charging they ruined her reputation after her arrest during a domestic dispute. Jodi Mosiello, also known as Jodi Faulkner, ran unsuccessfully last year on the Democratic line against Councilman John Murtagh... On Sept. 24, Mosiello filed her lawsuit in the state Supreme Court against the city; her ex-husband, Paul Faulkner; and his friend John Darcy. She seeks unspecified monetary damages for malicious prosecution stemming from a Sept. 28, 2007, arrest at her home, where she was arguing with her then-husband. Mosiello, 36, an attorney, was arrested on a charge of second-degree harassment, a misdemeanor. The charge against her was dismissed less than a month later by a City Court judge. "The plaintiff has been caused to suffer severe embarrassment in the community where she lives and where her family lives, severe emotional distress as a result of the arrest and charges and being required to defend said charges in a public forum, that the plaintiff's standing in the community has been altered by publicity concerning said charges," Mosiello's claims in her lawsuit... Last year's harassment charge and the resulting court case forced Mosiello to curtail her campaign and miss a debate against Murtagh just a month before Election Day. The lawsuit alleges that Faulkner, her husband at the time, conspired with John Darcy to tell Police Officer Charles Carroll that Mosiello struck him. The lawsuit also claims that it was Faulkner who verbally abused and pushed her, prompting her call to police. Faulkner, a Yonkers firefighter, did not return a call seeking a response to Mosiello's allegations. Darcy could not be reached for comment. Mosiello's lawsuit also accuses the Yonkers police of negligence. "The aforesaid arrest of the plaintiff by the police officer Charles Carroll was based upon the false and unbelievable allegations made by defendant Paul Faulkner with insufficient inquiry by officers of the city of Yonkers Police Department into such false allegations and without probable cause or provocation," the lawsuit says... [Full article here]

Article from last year:

YONKERS COUNCIL CANDIDATE CHARGED AFTER FIGHT WITH HUSBAND

The Journal News, (Westchester County, NY)
Len Maniace and Rebecca Baker
October 2, 2007
Jodi Mosiello , the Democratic candidate in the Yonkers City Council's 5th District, was in City Court yesterday facing a harassment charge based on a complaint filed by her husband. Yonkers City Court Judge Michael Martinelli set a nonjury trial for Thursday on the charge of second-degree harassment, a misdemeanor. Mark Garretto, an assistant Westchester County district attorney, asked Martinelli to dismiss the case against Mosiello , but Martinelli reserved a decision on that request. The charge against Mosiello , 34, follows statements by her husband to police that she had pushed him and scratched his neck, Yonkers police Lt. Diane Hessler said yesterday. Police were called to the family home at 4 Bradford Place in Yonkers at 5:20 p.m. Friday. In court yesterday, Mosiello 's attorney, Nicholas Maselli, called for a special prosecutor in the case, saying the District Attorney's Office would face a conflict of interest because Mosiello also had filed charges against her husband, Yonkers firefighter Paul Faulkner. It was unclear whether the complaint to which Maselli referred involved the same incident or a different incident. "My client is the victim," Maselli told the court. He later described the charges as "phony allegations" and added, "It's a he-said, she-said case. We need to get this resolved as soon as possible." Martinelli denied the motion for a special prosecutor. Mosiello , who was charged under her married name, Faulkner, was held by police overnight until her arraignment Saturday at Yonkers City Court. Hessler said the overnight stay was mandatory procedure for domestic complaints. A first-time candidate and a lawyer in private practice, Mosiello recently lost the Republican primary in the 5th District to incumbent Councilman John Murtagh, whom she faces again in the November general election. She is a cousin of former Assemblyman Louis Mosiello . Asked later how the harassment charge might affect her candidacy, Mosiello said that seeing her two children, ages 3 and 6, was her first priority. "I'm not even thinking that far ahead," she said.

[CA] Deputy Chu's wife, who works worked with slain Officer Lo, was divorcing Chu

Steve Lo

...[Officer Steve Lo's] widow [Sia Vang Lo] says she didn't know her husband's co-workers, but she has heard rumors about a possible motive... "I keep thinking (Steve) will come home any hour now from work. But he's not here"... As [Sacramento County Sheriff's] Deputy Chu Vue sits in jail on a weapons charge, court documents reveal that his wife is leaving him after 16 years. Chia Vue filed for divorce on September 12, 2008 citing irreconcilable differences... Neighbors also told KCRA 3 that [Deputy Vue] the person of interest's wife also works in law enforcement. A law enforcement source told KCRA 3 that detectives are looking into a "relationship issue" as a potential motive in the killing...

Previous entry:
[CA] Officer Steve Lo murdered. Co-worker's husband, Deputy Vue being investigated. - ...The possible motive in Lo's killing is said to be a "personal relationship" that may have become an issue between the two men...


At Vue's court appearance Monday, his defense attorney, Pa Lai Lee, invoked Vue's right to a speedy trial and also requested a hearing to have his bail reduced.

Deputy Held On Rifle Charge To Be Arraigned
Search Warrant Connects Chu Vue To Corrections Officer's Shooting Death
KCRA 3 News
October 27, 2008
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- A Sacramento County sheriff's deputy who is being held on a weapons charge is scheduled to appear in court Monday. Chu Vue, 43, was taken into custody last week after a search at his home turned up a rifle later determined to be illegal and unregistered. A search warrant obtained by KCRA 3 connects Vue to the shooting death of corrections officer Steve Lo. The warrant said "Vue's activities strongly indicate he was involved in the planning and/or execution of" the slaying of Steve Lo on Oct. 15. The documents also state that Vue is not believed to be the "perpetrator of this homicide, but he remains the principal in this case"... Vue is still employed by the sheriff's department but has been placed on leave with no badge and no gun, sources said. [Full article here]

Slain Officer's Widow Coping with Husband's Murder
News10.net, 10/KXTV
By: Will Frampton wframpton@news10.net
October 26, 2008
The Saturday night gathering at Officer Steve Lo's house was mostly upbeat, as friends and family came to lend comfort to his widow, Sia. For her, the ten days since Lo's slaying have felt anything but real. "It hasn't really registered," said Sia Lo. "I keep thinking (Steve) will come home any hour now from work. But he's not here. I can't believe it, that he's not here anymore... I can't make sense of it. It takes a turn every day," said Sia. "I just wish they can catch my husband's killer or killers." She doesn't know what to make of Sacramento County Sheriff's Deputy Chu Vue. He was arrested on an illegal gun charge, and Sacramento Police believe he's somehow involved in Lo's murder. And how relevant is the fact that Vue's wife worked with Lo at the correctional facility in Vacaville? If you ask Lo's widow, it's merely coincidence. "What I learned is that she (Vue's wife) does work with (my husband) at the Vacaville facility," said Sia. "But I don't think he would carry out anything that stupid with anybody of that sort. He's a very likeable person," she said of her husband. "I don't think he has any problems at work." Officer Lo's funeral is scheduled for 11 a.m. Friday at Longcheng Legacy Hall on Freeport Boulevard in Sacramento. Because it's a traditional Hmong funeral, it will last three days. [Full article here]

Wife Of Slain Officer Searches For Answers
Corrections Officer Fatally Shot In Front Of Sacramento Home
KCRA
October 26, 2008
The wife of a slain state corrections officer is still searching for answers and trying to say goodbye to the father of her five children. Steve Lo, 39, was in full uniform and standing in his garage in the 8400 block of Tambor Way shortly before 5 a.m. on Oct. 15 when he was fatally wounded by gunfire, police Sgt. Matt Young said. Lo's widow, Sia Vang, told KCRA 3 that the grieving process has been stressful and emotional. "It is close to putting him away, putting him to rest, and that's one thing that's hard for me to let go," Vang said. Chu Vue, a sheriff's deputy, is suspected of being involved in the slaying of Lo, according to a search warrant obtained by KCRA 3... "The story is taking a turn every day," Vang said. "I just hope they catch my husband's killers or killer" [Full article here]

Deputy Linked To Officer's Slaying, Docs Say
State Corrections Officer Slain In Front Of South Sacramento Home
October 23, 2008
A sheriff's deputy is suspected of being involved in the slaying of a state corrections officer, according to court documents. Chu Vue, 43, was taken into custody at 8 a.m. Thursday after a search at his home on Oct. 16 turned up a rifle later determined to be illegal and unregistered... Other items seized from Vue's home include miscellaneous divorce papers, several handguns, phone records and pieces of paper with phone numbers. The district attorney's office said Vue was charged with possession of an assault weapon. Vue is being held at the Yolo County Jail on $500,000 bail.. Neighbors also told KCRA 3 that the person of interest's wife also works in law enforcement. A law enforcement source told KCRA 3 that detectives are looking into a "relationship issue" as a potential motive in the killing... "Last week, I signed the proposed disciplinary action that set into motion the steps necessary to separate Chu Vue from employment from the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department," Sheriff John McGinness said in a statement. "However, Vue is still protected by the peace officer's Bill of Rights and is afforded all the protections thereunder as they relate to the confidentiality of personnel issues." Vue is still employed by the sheriff's department but has been placed on leave with no badge and no gun, sources said. [Full article here]

New Details Emerge In Arrest Of Sacramento Deputy
CBS13
Koula Gianulias
Oct 24, 2008
New details have emerged about Sheriff Deputy Chu Vue, the man being called a "principal" in the murder of correctional officer Steve Lo. As deputy Chu Vue sits in jail on a weapons charge, court documents reveal that his wife, Sia, is leaving him after 16 years. Chia Vue filed for divorce on September 12, 2008 citing irreconcilable differences. Court papers reveal she's asking for joint custody and a list of assets including investment property, a boat and jewelry totaling $20,000. Chia Vue works at the same medical facility in Vacaville, where Lo was a correctional officer. "I don't have any idea why someone would kill him," said Sia. "If you find out, please tell me." On the phone today, the victim's widow says she didn't know her husband's co-workers, but she has heard rumors about a possible motive. As she makes plans to bury her husband, she says she just wants answers and justice. "What the family wants right now if for the killer or killers to be captured" [Full article here]

Sunday, October 26, 2008

[IL] November brings a new, retroactive law with ex-Sgt. Drew Peterson at it's heart


...This common-sense legislation, which will become law in November, will enable prosecutors to bring previously inadmissible evidence to trial to ensure abusive murderers cannot profit from their wrongdoing. The new law will apply to crimes committed before its enactment... "In order to bring justice, courts need to be able to hear the testimony of key witnesses. Unfortunately in Illinois, courts could not hear from many victims of domestic violence, because their spouse murdered them to keep quiet..."

PETERSON, SAVIO INVESTIGATIONS 'HIGHLY PRODUCTIVE'
CBS2 Chicago, IL - Oct 22, 2008
Oct 22, 2008 11:53 am US/Central
Peterson, Savio Investigations 'Highly Productive'
[Excerpts] With the one-year aniversary of the disapearance of Stacy Peterson coming up next week, Will County State's Attorney James Glasgow says the investigation into her disappearnce has been "highly productive" and he expects a resolution to her case or that of the murder of Kathleen Savio "in the near future." Peterson has been missing since Sunday, Oct. 28, 2007, when she left her Bolingbrook home. Her husband, Drew Peterson, a former Bolingbrook police sergeant, has denied any involvement in her disappearance, as well as the death of his third wife, Savio, whose body was found in a bathtub on March 1, 2004. Her death was initially ruled an accidental drowning but later classified as a homicide... Glasgow also said the investigations prompted him to propose a new law that will enable state prosecutors to "use a murder victim's cries for help as evidence at trial to convict her brutal killer." The legislation, which will become law in November, will enable prosecutors to bring previously inadmissible evidence to trial "to ensure abusive murderers cannot profit from their wrongdoing," Glasgow said. It will apply to crimes committed before its enactment, provisions recently affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court. Glasgow said his office is "committed to making certain that justice is served for (the families and friends of Peterson and Savio)"... [Full article here]


Previous blog entries:
PRESS RELEASE
October 22, 2008
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow’s statement regarding the Stacy Peterson, Kathleen Savio investigations

Contact: Charles B. Pelkie
(815) 727-8789
(815) 530-7110 (cellular)
cpelkie@willcountyillinois.com

This statement is in response to media requests for comment regarding the one-year anniversary of the disappearance of Stacy Peterson. This statement may be attributed to Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow:

The Illinois State Police continue to conduct exhaustive investigations into the disappearance of Stacy Peterson and the murder of Kathleen Savio. The Will County State’s Attorney’s Office reopened the investigation into Kathleen Savio’s 2004 death, which occurred before I took office. After filing a petition with the court to exhume Kathleen Savio’s remains, a board certified forensic pathologist confirmed my assertion in that petition that her death was a homicide.

In addition, my office took the rare step of convening a Special Grand Jury in November 2007 to hear testimony and evidence regarding Stacy Peterson’s disappearance and Kathleen Savio’s murder. The Special Grand Jury is still receiving evidence.

The investigations into both Stacy Peterson’s disappearance and Kathleen Savio’s murder have been highly productive. I fully expect there to be a resolution in at least one of these investigations in the near future.

Furthermore, it must be noted that these two investigations, as well as the investigation into the disappearance of Lisa Stebic, prompted me to draft a new law that will enable prosecutors across Illinois to use a murder victim’s cries for help as evidence at trial to convict her brutal killer. This common-sense legislation, which will become law in November, will enable prosecutors to bring previously inadmissible evidence to trial to ensure abusive murderers cannot profit from their wrongdoing. The new law will apply to crimes committed before its enactment. The provisions contained in this new law have recently been affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court.

I personally want to express my gratitude to the families and friends of both Stacy Peterson and Kathleen Savio for their patience, understanding and cooperation during the past year. We are committed to making certain that justice is served for them.

My office continues to work hard to assist the Illinois State Police in advancing both investigations under intense national and local media coverage. We have done our best to respond to legitimate media queries without jeopardizing the integrity of these investigations or the secrecy of the Special Grand Jury. While this has proven difficult at times, I respect the professionalism displayed by the press during these investigations. [Link]



[SENATE BILL 2718]
AN ACT CONCERNING CRIMINAL LAW.

Full Text of SB2718
SB2718 Enrolled
LRB095 05870 RLC 25961 b

BE IT ENACTED BY THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, REPRESENTED IN THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY:

Section 5. The Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963 is amended by adding Section 115-10.6 as follows:
(725 ILCS 5/115-10.6 new)
Sec. 115-10.6. Hearsay exception for intentional murder of a witness.
(a) A statement is not rendered inadmissible by the hearsay rule if it is offered against a party that has killed the declarant in violation of clauses (a)(1) and (a)(2) of Section 9-1 of the Criminal Code of 1961 intending to procure the unavailability of the declarant as a witness in a criminal or civil proceeding.
(b) While intent to procure the unavailability of the witness is a necessary element for the introduction of the statements, it need not be the sole motivation behind the murder which procured the unavailability of the declarant as a witness.
(c) The murder of the declarant may, but need not, be the subject of the trial at which the statement is being offered. If the murder of the declarant is not the subject of the trial at which the statement is being offered, the murder need not have ever been prosecuted.
(d) The proponent of the statements shall give the adverse party reasonable written notice of its intention to offer the statements and the substance of the particulars of each statement of the declarant. For purposes of this Section, identifying the location of the statements in tendered discovery shall be sufficient to satisfy the substance of the particulars of the statement.
(e) The admissibility of the statements shall be determined by the court at a pretrial hearing. At the hearing, the proponent of the statement bears the burden of establishing 3criteria by a preponderance of the evidence:
(1) first, that the adverse party murdered the declarant and that the murder was intended to cause the unavailability of the declarant as a witness;
(2) second, that the time, content, and circumstances of the statements provide sufficient safeguards of reliability;
(3) third, the interests of justice will best be served by admission of the statement into evidence.
(f) The court shall make specific findings as to each of these criteria on the record before ruling on the admissibility of said statements.
(g) This Section in no way precludes or changes the application of the existing common law doctrine of forfeiture by wrongdoing.



PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 7, 2008

Governor Blagojevich Takes Action on Legislation that Allows Testimony of Witness who was Murdered by Defendant
Provides assistance for prosecuting attorneys to get a conviction when the defendant has intentionally murdered a key witness in effort to silence them

CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today acted on legislation that will allow the courts to admit a statement from a witness who was intentionally murdered by the defendant if they determine the murder was to prevent the witness from testifying against the defendant. With support from the bill sponsors, advocates and prosecutors, the Governor used his amendatory veto power to give the act an immediate effective date.

Governor Blagojevich took action at the request of the bill’s sponsors. Without the amendatory veto, the legislation would not take effect until June 1, 2009. The General Assembly will now need to act to accept the amendatory veto and so that the voices of the silenced victims can be heard immediately. The General Assembly is expected to act next month.

“Too often, victims of domestic violence cry out for help, but those cries aren’t heard. In the most tragic cases, victims are murdered by their abusers when they reach out for help, and they are silenced forever. Now the voices of those victims will be heard in the courtroom and justice can be served,” Governor Blagojevich said.

Senate Bill 2718, sponsored by Senator A. J. Wilhelmi (D - Crest Hill) and Representative Careen M. Gordon (D - Coal City), and initiated by Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow, is designed to eliminate the incentive for criminals in Illinois to kill witnesses in an attempt to prevent them from testifying at trial. The legislation allows prosecutors to enter into evidence the relevant statements from witnesses who were killed.

“This legislation will clarify the rules of evidence in Illinois and will prevent defendants from escaping justice by murdering witnesses,” State’s Attorney James Glasgow said. “Prosecutors at the federal level, as well as in other states, have been using this rule of evidence for years to secure convictions against dangerous criminals.”

The new law will allow a judge to decide at a pretrial hearing whether the court will consider a hearsay testimony. At the pretrial hearing, a judge will determine if the defendant murdered the witness and the murder was intended to make the witness unavailable for testimony, if the unavailable witness’ statements are reliable, and if justice is best served if the statements will be admitted into evidence.

For the statement to be admissible, the trial court judge must make specific findings that each of the following criteria has been met:
· Specific intent by the defendant to make the witness unavailable by murdering the declarant.
· Reliability of the statement.
· The interests of justice will be best served by the admission of the statement into evidence.

“The ability for one to testify against a perpetrator of a crime is an instrumental element of our judicial system. Criminals should not benefit when they try to stifle our system of justice by murdering a key witness. I want to thank Governor Blagojevich for supporting this bill and giving those who can no longer be with us a voice,” said Senator A.J. Wilhelmi.

This new law is supported by the recent Supreme Court decision of Giles v. California which upheld the common law doctrine called “the forfeiture of wrongdoing,” which states that the defendant forfeits his/her rights under the Sixth Amendment to confront the witness if the defendant has caused the witness to be unavailable. Senate Bill 2718 codifies the common law doctrine to make it enforceable in Illinois. This doctrine has been made into law in more than a dozen other states, including Maryland, California, Connecticut, North Carolina, New Mexico, Utah, Vermont and Hawaii.

“I am proud to sponsor legislation that allows the court to hear testimony from those that criminals have tries to silence. This law will help bring a bit of peace to victims’ families and assist prosecuting attorneys in convicting those who would kill in order to prevent a witness from testifying against them,” said Representative Careen Gordon.

“In order to bring justice, courts need to be able to hear the testimony of key witnesses. Unfortunately in Illinois, courts could not hear from many victims of domestic violence, because their spouse murdered them to keep quiet. I thank the Governor for standing up for these victims of domestic violence,” said Barbara Shaw, Director of the Illinois Violence Prevention Authority. [Link]

AMEN
(So be it.)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

[IL] Justice for Kathleen Twarowski prevails over ex-cop Cumbee's wish list

..."I saw John hold Kathy, then he physically bit her on the cheek... She was bit on the cheek, on the nose and on the mouth. She was very scared, bleeding, crying, saying: 'I can't believe he did this'"... "There were many times she told her family he's not going to stop hurting her until he maimed her or she was dead... She was right"...

COURT BLOCKS EX-FOX LAKE COP'S BID FOR THIRD MURDER TRIAL
Daily Herald
By Charles Keeshan
10/23/2008
Former Fox Lake police officer John Cumbee's bid for a third trial on charges he murdered an ex-girlfriend in 1992 suffered a huge setback Thursday when a judge determined he does not even deserve a court hearing on claims his second trial was unfair. McHenry Co. Judge Sharon Prather granted prosecutors' request to throw out Cumbee's post-conviction motion for a new trial that alleged, among other things, authorities tampered with physical evidence against him. Cumbee, 48, also claimed his lawyers did not put on an adequate defense, in part because they refused to allow him to testify in his own behalf. "There was no evidence to support any of his claims," Nichole Owens, criminal chief for the McHenry County State's Attorney's Office, said after Thursday's ruling. Cumbee was sentenced in 2003 to life in prison after a jury found him guilty of killing former girlfriend Kathleen Twarowski during a rage authorities say was prompted by her decision to end their relationship. Police said Cumbee, who also served as a firefighter in Fox Lake, beat the 21-year-old college student to death with a fire poker in his Lake County home, placed her in her vehicle and then abandoned it just across the McHenry County border. A jury first convicted him of the murder in 1993, but an appellate court overturned the decision and ordered a new trial after ruling jurors received improper instructions. An appeal of the second conviction was denied. The only motion to which Prather gave any credence Thursday was one by prosecutors seeking sanctions against Cumbee's defense. The judge scheduled a hearing next month on the matter. "Our position is that his motion was frivolous and our office should be reimbursed for the time we spent working on this," Owens said. Cumbee attorney Dan Mengeling could not be reached immediately for comment. [LINK]

1992-2007 Excerpts

WOMAN FOUND DEAD NEAR FOX LAKE
Chicago Tribune
May 7, 1992
Charles Mount.
The body of a 21-year-old physical therapist was found Wednesday morning about 2 miles from her home on a dead-end road northwest of Fox Lake in McHenry County. The woman, identified as Kathleen M. Twarowski of 37680 N. Terrace Ave., Fox Lake, apparently died after being struck repeatedly on the face and head with a blunt object...

POLICE GET SAMPLES FROM EX-BOYFRIEND
Chicago Tribune
June 22, 1992
McHenry County Sheriff`s police obtained blood and hair samples and fingerprints from the ex-boyfriend of a 21-year-old Fox Lake-area woman who was found murdered in her car last May, according to Sheriff George Hendle. Hendle said the physical evidence was obtained from John Cumbee, 32, of rural Spring Grove... Kathleen Twarowski`s bloodied, fully-clothed body was found May 6 in the reclined drivers` seat of her car in a wooded area of rural Spring Grove, about a mile west of the home she formerly shared with Cumbee, a former Sunnyside police officer who currently works as a paramedic in Waukegan.

FAMILY OFFERS CASH TO CLEAR MAN`S NAME
Chicago Tribune
July 16, 1992
Charles Mount.
...Cumbee`s 37-year-old sister now is taking the unusual step of offering a $500 reward for information leading to the conviction of the killer... "We believe in John`s innocence and just want to find the person who did this"... After the killing, investigators spent two days searching the rural Spring Grove home that Cumbee and Twarowski jointly owned... Cumbee has given police the names of at least two men Twarowski could have met in bars... Alleged physical abuse by Cumbee had led Twarowski to obtain an order of protection.

EX-BOYFRIEND CHARGED IN MYSTERY KILLING
Chicago Tribune
November 5, 1992
Charles Mount.
Nearly six months to the day after his ex-girlfriend was found bludgeoned to death in unincorporated Fox Lake, a former police officer was arrested Wednesday by the McHenry County Sheriff`s Department and charged with murder... McHenry County Sheriff George Hendle implied that Cumbee may have been trying to flee. "He threw a duffel bag in his pickup truck, so that tells you something," Hendle said... Most recently, he was a paramedic at St. Therese Hospital in Waukegan and before that a police officer in Round Lake and Sunnyside. "He was a policeman and knew all the tricks of the trade," Hendle said. "He covered his trail pretty well"... Betty Twarowski, the victim`s mother, attended the sheriff`s news conference with her husband, Robert, and their 15-year-old son, Brad. She said her daughter had told her once of being threatened by Cumbee after their breakup, which occurred a few months before the slaying...

LETTERS FROM ALLEGED KILLER DRAWING FIRE
Chicago Tribune
January 5, 1993
Charles Mount.
McHenry County State's Atty. Gary Pack Monday rebutted publicized claims by alleged killer John Cumbee that authorities "have no case against me," despite his recent indictment for the murder of his former girlfriend... Pack said the letters from Cumbee, first publicized over the weekend, increase the amount of pretrial publicity, bolstering Cumbee's attempts to have the trial moved to Lake County. Cumbee's letters also could create a favorable impression among prospective jurors... Cumbee said in his letter that a 50-hour search of his former home at 38027 N. Dewey Ave. in Fox Lake by sheriff's detectives "gave them nothing" and that samples of Twarowski's blood were not found in the house... He also repeated claims that the pair had contact even after Twarowski obtained an order of protection against Cumbee in April because of earlier alleged beatings...

DETECTIVES SAY ANGRY CUMBEE ADMITTED KILLING EX-GIRLFRIEND
Chicago Tribune
February 11, 1993
Charles Mount.
Two McHenry County sheriff's detectives testified Wednesday that John Cumbee, who is charged with murder in the death of his former girlfriend, admitted to the crime while in their custody... "He said, `I did it. Yeah, I did it. So what?' " Lowery testified. At another point, Cumbee said, "You will never be able to prove I did it," Lowery and Pandre testified. After his comments, Cumbee smiled and looked out the squad car window... Lowery and Pandre said Cumbee was angry that they had embarrassed him by picking him up at his job. The detectives also testified that Cumbee called Twarowski a "barfly" and said her friends were "bar hoppers," but then after one of several mood changes said he "loved her and would never hurt her."

JURORS TOLD THAT CUMBEE WAS ABUSIVE
Chicago Tribune
April 22, 1993
Charles Mount.
Kathleen Twarowski was portrayed Wednesday as an attractive 21-year-old who was in love with an older man and tried to hide the relationship from her parents, who in turn tried "hundreds of times" to get her to break it off. Kathleen's parents were against the relationship because of several alleged beatings Twarowski suffered at the hands of John Cumbee, 33, a former policeman... Kathleen began living with Cumbee, the divorced father of two children, in August 1990, but moved out the following June after at least two alleged beatings. But she moved back in with him three weeks later and stayed until November, when she moved out for good after more alleged beatings. Kathleen got a protective order against Cumbee, but started dating Cumbee again in April 1992, and tried to hide the relationship by telling her parents she was going out with friends or going to study, Prossnitz said. When she was at Cumbee's house, which was about a mile from her parents' home, Kathleen would park her car in his garage so her parents would not see it while taking walks by Cumbee's rural Spring Grove house. On May 5, Kathleen and Cumbee twice talked by telephone before Kathleen left her parents' house for the last time. About 11:20 p.m., a rural Spring Grove resident narrowly missed a head-on collision in a secluded area with a car driven by a man with dark hair who was accompanied by a woman who was slumped over... investigators later found 100 hair fibers matching Kathleen's hair, some of them bloody after apparently having been pulled out of her head, on a broom in Cumbee's house...

BLUDGEON SUSPECT: I WAS SCARED
Chicago Tribune
April 30, 1993
Janan Hanna.
John Cumbee took the stand in his own defense Thursday, tearfully recounting how he learned of his former girlfriend's death and denying any involvement in her murder... He vehemently denied testimony from prosecution witnesses that he remained unflinching at the news of Twarowski's death. "Yes, I was upset," he said, his voice cracking. "I was really scared. They tell you your friend is dead, and you killed her? Yeah, I was upset"... The investigators interviewed Cumbee the day Twarowski's body was found, and both testified that Cumbee showed no emotion when they broke the news. They also testified that Cumbee got defensive before he ever knew a murder investigation was being conducted...

FAMILY VENTS HATRED; CUMBEE GETS LIFE
Chicago Tribune
July 15, 1993
Charles Mount
..."Kathy was the older sister that every younger brother wanted in his life. She was not just my older sister, but my best friend," recalled Rick Twarowski, 20, in a trembling voice. Judge Henry Cowlin... sentenced Cumbee to life in prison without parole for the May 5, 1992, murder in Cumbee's rural Spring Grove house...

COURT REVERSES CUMBEE CONVICTION
NEW TRIAL ORDERED BY APPEALS PANEL
Chicago Tribune
November 17, 1995
Charles Mount
An Illinois Appellate Court has reversed the conviction of former Sunnyside policeman John Cumbee for the 1992 murder of his ex-girlfriend because of a technical error in jury instructions, it was announced Thursday...

FORMER FOX LAKE POLICE OFFICER WINS APPEAL OF MURDER
conviction
Daily Herald
November 17, 1995
James Kimberly
Appellate court justices ordered a new trial for a former part-time Fox Lake police officer who is serving a life sentence for the 1992 bludgeoning murder of a Spring Grove woman. Second District Appellate Court Justices said they overturned the murder conviction for 35-year-old John A. Cumbee because McHenry County Judge Henry L. Cowlin made mistakes during Cumbee's 1993 trial. Justices S. Louis Rathje, Robert D. McLaren and Fred A. Geiger said Cowlin erred when he failed to instruct jurors that the state must prove where 21-year-old Kathleen M. Twarowski was murdered in order to convict Cumbee of the crime...

CUMBEE CHALLENGES CHARGES IN 2ND TRIAL
Daily Herald
May 25, 1996
James Kimberly
It was uncertainty over where Kathleen Twarowski was killed four years ago that won a former part-time Fox Lake police officer the right to a new trial in McHenry County. And now the attorney for 36-year-old John A. Cumbee said he believes that uncertainty should be grounds to drop murder charges against his client altogether...

NO CAR, NO CASE, SAY LAWYERS FOR MAN ACCUSED OF MURDER
Daily Herald
November 29, 2001
Charles Keeshan
Lawyers for an ex-cop charged with killing his girlfriend nine years ago are asking a judge to throw out the case because authorities got rid of the vehicle where the victim's body was found... because McHenry County prosecutors released the vehicle to the victim's family in 1994 after Cumbee's first trial, they say the case must now be dismissed. "The Geo Tracker is a critical piece of evidence in Cumbee's defense," defense lawyer John Curnyn wrote. "The car is exculpatory in nature in that it proves that Cumbee did not commit this crime"... Police, however, say the vehicle itself is irrelevant. Several photos of its exterior and interior are available and anything of value - such as bloodstains and fibers - is preserved... Defense lawyers filed another legal request Wednesday, this one asking the court to throw out statements Cumbee gave police shortly after the murder.

EX-OFFICER'S TRIAL DELAYED FOR 4TH TIME THIS YEAR
Daily Herald
November 22, 2002
Charles Keeshan
Amid defense claims of prosecutorial misconduct, a McHenry County judge agreed Thursday to postpone the murder trial of former Fox Lake police officer John Cumbee for the fourth time this year. The delay came after a heated exchange between Cumbee attorney Jed Stone and county prosecutors over the sudden appearance of lab notes from an expert witness who testified in the defendant's first trial nine years ago. Stone alleges prosecutors hid the notes because they contradict state claims that Cumbee, 42, beat his former girlfriend to death with a fire poker in April 1992. The notes indicate material imbedded in the wounds of Kathleen Twarowski could be vinyl, rubber or leather, components not usually found on a fire poker... Cumbee remains in custody at the McHenry County jail on $5 million bond.

PROSECUTORS LAY OUT EVIDENCE IN MURDER TRIAL 10 WITNESSES TESTIFY AGAINST EX-OFFICER
Daily Herald
Charles Keeshan
July 24, 2003
John Cumbee bragged to police that he killed his girlfriend and that no one could prove he did it, a McHenry County prosecutor said during opening statements Wednesday in the former Fox Lake police officer's murder trial. "'Yeah, I did it. So what. You won't be able to prove it,'" Assistant McHenry County State's Attorney Donna Jo Maki told jurors. "That was the outburst John Cumbee uttered a month after Kathleen Twarowski was found murdered"... It is the second time Cumbee is going through a trial in the case... prosecutors called 10 witnesses to testify... Betty Twarowski told jurors her daughter began dating Cumbee in the fall of 1989 and initially the family approved of their relationship. "He was like family," she said. "He was welcome in our house." That changed, she said, following an incident in November 1991 that caused Kathleen Twarowski to move out of the home she shared with Cumbee. Betty Twarowski did not testify about the specifics of that incident, but prosecutors hope to get in those details through court documents Kathleen Twarowski filed seeking an order of protection afterward. Maki earlier described the relationship between Cumbee and Twarowski as violent, telling jurors they would hear during the trial that Cumbee frequently threatened Twarowski and once bit her face during an argument at a Palatine nightclub. She also laid out an array of circumstantial evidence connecting Cumbee to the crime, including fresh injuries to his knuckles and neck discovered shortly after the murder and the location of "forcibly removed" hair consistent with the victim's hair found on a broom in Cumbee's home. Cumbee lawyer Jed Stone went on the attack ...prosecutors lack any physical evidence... "There is no blood spatter in the Cumbee home... There is no indication this poor woman was killed there... The truth is we have no idea what instrument killed Miss Twarowsk...We don't know where Miss Twarowski was killed, we don't know what was used to kill her and we don't know the identity of the round-faced man who dropped off her body and disappeared into the night," he said...

NEW TRIAL IN SLAYING FOCUSES ON PAIR'S PAST
Chicago Tribune
July 24, 2003
Jeff Long
...prosecutors alleged that John Cumbee once bit Kathleen Twarowski on the face and tongue, drawing blood and requiring a hospital visit. Defense attorney Jed Stone countered that just three days before Twarowski's death, the couple had a picnic on the front lawn of their Fox Lake-area home, playing with Cumbee's children and a bunny. "It was a scene of happiness and joy," Stone told jurors... Betty Twarowski said Cumbee dated her daughter for about two years...

WITNESS: DEFENDANT WAS INJURED AFTER SLAYING FRIENDS SAY EX-FOX LAKE OFFICER JOHN CUMBEE WAS VIOLENT WITH VICTIM
Daily Herald
July 25, 2003
Charles Keeshan
John Cumbee had fresh injuries on his hands and neck the morning after authorities allege he brutally beat his former girlfriend to death, a McHenry County Sheriff's investigator testified Thursday. Sgt. Christopher Pandre told jurors he saw bruising on Cumbee's neck and a cut and scrapes on his knuckles when he and a partner met with him hours after Kathleen Twarowski was found dead in an abandoned car near Fox Lake. The statements came during the second day of testimony in the murder trial of Cumbee, a 43-year-old former Fox Lake police officer and firefighter charged with first-degree murder stemming from the May 1992 slaying... Testimony opened Thursday with several of Twarowski's friends recalling the volatile relationship between Cumbee and Twarowski. One tearfully recalled a January 1992 incident in which Cumbee bit his former girlfriend's face three times on the dance floor of a Palatine nightclub. "I saw John hold Kathy, then he physically bit her on the cheek," Laura Hill testified. "She was bit on the cheek, on the nose and on the mouth. (She was) very scared, bleeding, crying, saying: 'I can't believe he did this'"... Other friends testified that Cumbee showed up unexpectedly on occasions when they were out with the victim. Pandre spent more than an hour on the witness stand Thursday afternoon discussing several encounters with Cumbee in the weeks after the slaying. It was during that first encounter, the day after the slaying, that Pandre said he noticed Cumbee's injuries, which Cumbee attributed to handling a piece of wood that had fallen out his fireplace. However, Pandre admitted he never photographed the injuries or asked medical personnel to examine it. Pandre later told jurors Cumbee made an incriminating statement six weeks after the slaying while he and his partner, now Undersheriff Eugene Lowery, were taking him to submit hair and blood samples as part of the ongoing investigation. "He said, 'I did it, so what,' " Pandre testified. "Detective Lowery asked him if he wanted to talk about it and he just turned and smiled. He said, 'The hair and blood samples won't do you guys any good'"...

EX-OFFICER CONVICTED AGAIN FOR MURDER JURY REACHES VERDICT AFTER ONLY 3 1/2 HOURS
Daily Herald
August 5, 2003
Charles Keeshan
John Cumbee waited nearly a decade for a second trial in the murder of his former girlfriend, but he wound up with the same result. A McHenry County jury deliberated about 3 1/2 hours Monday before finding the former Fox Lake firefighter and police officer guilty of first-degree murder for the slaying of Kathleen Twarowski in May 1992. Cumbee, 43, now faces life in prison without parole... "It didn't take a jury of 12 people to tell us he did it," said Twarowski's brother, Bradley Twarowski. "We knew it the instant they told us Kathy was dead. No other person in the world would want to hurt my sister and no on else did. "There were many times she told her family he's not going to stop (hurting her) until he maimed her or she was dead," he added. "She was right."... The verdict was given amid unprecedented security at the McHenry County Government Center. Spectators had to pass through metal detectors to enter the courtroom and 15 members of the McHenry County Sheriff's Department were stationed in the room. After the decision, Twarowski's mother, Betty Twarowski, said she believes the verdict will let her daughter finally rest. That may never be the case, she said, for the family members left behind. "You never rest. When you wake up the first thing you think about is Kathy and she's the last thing you think about when you go to sleep," she said. "She's always on our mind"...

MAN CONVICTED AGAIN IN GIRLFRIEND'S DEATH
Ex-cop faces life for 1992 slaying
Chicago Tribune
August 5, 2003
Jeff Long
..."We feel sorry for the Twarowski family," said Cumbee's brother Bill. "But they were brainwashed by the county." "There was no evidence," said Cumbee's mother, Shirley, who sat behind her son during the two-week trial. "So how do you think we feel? How would you feel if you were locked up for 11 years for something you didn't do? It's pretty much destroyed our lives"...

EX-POLICE OFFICER GETS LIFE FOR MURDER
Daily Herald
October 1, 2003
Charles Keeshan
For a second time, John Cumbee was sentenced to life in prison for the 1992 murder of his one-time girlfriend... The life sentence drew a mix of joy and relief from more than 20 relatives and friends of Twarowski who filled McHenry County Judge Sharon Prather's courtroom Tuesday. "We're happy he got life because it is the maximum he could get, but deep down inside for a lot of us it's not enough," said Rick Twarowski, the victim's brother. Brother Brad Twarowski, who was 13 when his sister was killed, was more blunt about his feelings. "The judge can't send him to hell, so we have to be satisfied with life in prison," he said... Stone later said an appeal is in the works, one that he believes will be successful. "I am confident this case is coming back," he said...

JUDGES HEAR CONVICTED KILLER'S SECOND APPEAL
Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
June 7, 2006
Charles Keeshan
Labeling the murder conviction of John Cumbee "unsettlingly sick," a defense lawyer urged state appellate judges Tuesday to throw out the guilty finding and order a new trial for the former Fox Lake police officer and firefighter. In arguments before the Illinois Second District Appellate Court, Cumbee attorney Jed Stone accused McHenry County prosecutors of ignoring earlier appellate decisions and using questionable evidence to win a first-degree murder conviction in 2003... The two-county nature of the case, and ensuing questions about where to properly try Cumbee, has dogged prosecutors from the onset... As the law existed in 1992, she said, a person must be tried in the county where the alleged murder took place. However, she added, the law also said if there is no evidence indicating exactly where the slaying occurred, then a defendant could be tried where the victim's body was discovered...

APPELLATE COURT UPHOLDS CUMBEE 2003 CONVICTION
Northwest Herald
Fri, Jul 7, 2006
ELGIN – After their daughter Kathleen was murdered 14 years ago, Bob and Betty Twarowski made a promise they have kept to this day. "We promised her we would be at every court hearing, every pre-trial hearing, everything," Betty Twarowski, of Spring Grove, said. "We want people to know she was a very loving and wonderful person"... Cumbee's attorney, Jed Stone of Waukegan, said he planned to either file a petition for a rehearing with 2nd District Appellate Court, or to appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court... "We are in the early stages of a review of a wrongful conviction," Stone said. "[John] is digging himself in for the long fight that is ahead of us. We will pursue this until John gets justice." Betty Twarowski said the family was ready for more court hearings. "We will be wherever we need to be with the boxing gloves on," she said. "This is a wound that never heals. There is a hole in our heart that never can be covered up."

COURT UPHOLDS EX-COP'S MURDER CONVICTION
BY CHARLES KEESHAN
Daily Herald Staff Writer
Posted Friday, July 07, 2006
Bob and Betty Twarowski haven't had much cause for celebration in the 14 years since their daughter's murder at the hands of a former police officer. But the McHenry County couple rejoiced Thursday after hearing that a state appeals court had upheld both the conviction and life sentence of John Cumbee, the man twice convicted of her slaying. In a unanimous decision, the Illinois Second District Appellate Court rejected Cumbee's claims that the judge presiding over his trial made numerous errors leading to his conviction for first-degree murder. "It's wonderful news for us and it's wonderful news for our daughter," Betty Twarowski said Thursday.... "She won another victory and he is where he belongs. Every time he loses it's a celebration not just for our daughter but for all victims of domestic violence," Bob Twarowski said. "It's another jerk off the street."