Police and Courts | WGLT

Police and Courts

Tony Webster / Wikimedia Commons

Another shooting in Bloomington, and another leg wound. Police don't believe the wound locations in each of the four shootings since April 28th is significant. 

Tex Texin / Flickr

Police have arrested a 22-year-old man from Normal for shooting a man to death in Normal on Wednesday.

Judith Valente / GLT News

As part of their Social Work in Action class, a group of Illinois Wesleyan University students began interviewing people who have been arrested in McLean County.  

Alan Cleaver / Flickr

A 33-year old Brimfield man shot himself Tuesday afternoon on I-74 near Carlock. McLean County Coroner Kathleen Davis said Paul S. Smith died of a penetrating contact gunshot wound of the head.

The incident remains under investigation by the McLean County Coroner's office and State Police.

Bloomington Police Department

Bloomington police said they want to look at a next generation body camera product because the first one under review doesn't have enough battery life.

Cameras are supposed to have eight hours of recording time. But, some batteries are lasting only three hours. Chief Brendan Heffner said the law is ambiguous because it's not clear whether ten hours refers to recording capacity or battery life.

Sergeant Clayton Arnold is overseeing the pilot project of 12 officers using body cams. Sergeant Arnold said there are procedural hurdles to clear as well, such as deciding how much time to allocate for report writing with access to body camera footage.

Chief Heffner talks to aldermen
Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

A citizen review board for police will not be a slam dunk in Bloomington, if early council discussion is a guide.

Several Aldermen said they wanted to learn more about the options during a work session on the issue. A couple want to move ahead and have staff draft an ordinance. Alderman David Sage said he sees no case for the panel.

A former Bloomington High School Spanish teacher has admitted to second degree murder.

30-year old Sarah Mellor stabbed her 31-year old husband Mark in the chest during a struggle at a Carlock area campground in October.
    
Sarah Mellor has been in the Woodford County Jail since then and resigned her teaching position while in custody.

Mellor will be sentenced July 18. The sentence could range from 20 years in prison down to time served and probation.

Staff / WGLT

The police chief in Normal said he's pleased with crime trends.

Rick Bleichner said so-called index crimes reported to the FBI declined modestly while the overall crime rate was down 8 percent last year.

Isabella Rodriguez / WGLT

The first day of a discovery recount for the Normal mayoral race revealed no dramatic change in the result.

Candidate Marc Tiritilli had requested a recount of a quarter of the precincts in the town after losing to incumbent Chris Koos by 11 votes. 6,336 voters went to the polls in the Mayoral race April 4, 2017.

Staff / WGLT

61 social service agencies suing the State of Illinois over the budget impasse got their day in court on Thursday.

An attorney for the agencies told Illinois Appellate Court judges the agencies are political hostages because of the budget impasse. Those groups are suing the state to get paid what they’re owed.

Staff / WGLT

Bloomington police say someone shot a teenager near Miller Park early Thursday morning.

That is the second shooting in the last week.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

The Mayor of Normal is not enthusiastic about a formal welcoming cities ordinance. Area groups marched on Bloomington City Hall this week asking for an ordinance to limit local government cooperation with federal immigration and customs enforcement, or ICE.

Mayor Chris Koos of Normal said he supports keeping immigrant families together, but not through that method.

Staff / WGLT

Bloomington Police say they have made no arrests yet in connection with a shooting on Springfield Road.

The gunfire happened about nine o'clock Thursday evening in a parking lot of the 1700 block of Springfield Road.

Bloomington Police Department

It has been four years since Bloomington resident Haleigh Eichhorn disappeared.

Her body was found in rural Stanford on May 7, 2013 ten days after she was last seen.

Hastert To Lose Pension

Apr 26, 2017
Tannen Maury / EPA

An Illinois retirement board is terminating former U-S House Speaker Dennis Hastert’s state pension.

He’d been collecting about $28,000 a year for his service in the state legislature.

Ralph Weisheit / WGLT

McLean County Sherriff Jon Sandage is banning cell phones in the Law and Justice Center starting in June.

Sandage said some people were violating policy against photos and recordings in court.

Ralph Weisheit / WGLT

Pretrial skirmishing among attorneys is important for any criminal trial.

It helps set the ground rules for the courtroom conflict between prosecution and defense.

Steven Damron / Flickr

Illinois is observing its first-ever Distracted Driving Awareness Week The Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police and Triple-A created the initiative.

More than 300 law enforcement agencies in the state will focus on violations for distracted driving, including the Town of Normal.

Staff / WGLT

Bloomington Police said a woman whose home was broken into shot the intruder.

The incident happened about 1:32 a.m. Friday. Officers say a home alarm went off from the garage in the 700 block of South Clayton.

Court Rejects Blagojevich Appeal

Apr 21, 2017
Il. Dept. Corrections / Facebook via Creative Commons

A federal court has taken just three days to reject the appeal of imprisoned former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich seeking a third sentencing.

The unanimous ruling Friday by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago dismissed arguments that the Democrat's trial-court judge should have reduced his 14-year prison term for corruption because of his good behavior behind bars. 

Heidelberg Conviction Tossed

Apr 21, 2017
Roger W. / Flickr

Family and attorneys representing Cleve Heidelberg call yesterday’s court ruling “historic,” for a man who’s spent the last 47 years in prison.

A Peoria County Judge granted Heidelberg a new trial in the 1970 murder of Peoria County Sheriff’s Sergeant Raymond Espinoza.

J. Scott Applewhite / AP

The U. S. Senate Judiciary Committee votes today to submit the name of Neil Gorsuch to the full Senate for confirmation as the next U. S. Supreme Court justice.

What happens next is anyone's guess, and the options play out like the scene from a political science fiction movie. Meghan Leonard, Professor of Politics and Government at Illinois State University, and a judicial politics scholar,  said during Sound Ideas the stage for all of this was set last year when the Republican-controlled Senate failed to call President Barack Obama's nominee Merrick Garland for a vote in an unprecedented move.

Emma Shores / WGLT

The McLean County Coroner is continuing its investigation into a pedestrian death on Veterans Parkway.

Coroner Kathy Davis identified the man as 50-year-old Jeffery A. Darr. A preliminary autopsy indicates Darr died from injuries after being struck by a sport utility vehicle on Veterans Parkway, south of Shepard Road in Normal.

Darr was pronounced dead at the scene at 9:19 PM Friday. The Normal Police Department is also investigating the crash. Toxicology results are pending. 

Ralph Weisheit / WGLT

An Illinois appeals court has ruled in favor of WGLT, the Pantagraph Newspaper, and the Illinois Press Association in a dispute with the defense counsel in the Kirk Zimmerman murder case.

Zimmerman's Attorneys had sought to keep secret hearings on some pretrial motions. They argued disclosing those would make it more difficult to find impartial jurors.

Caterpillar Hires Big Name Legal Help

Mar 17, 2017
IPR

Caterpillar Inc. is hiring a former U.S. attorney general to help it sort out matters that sparked a federal raid on its headquarters in central Illinois.

William P. Barr will serve as outside counsel to the large equipment manufacturer.

He'll help Caterpillar review and address issues relating to Caterpillar SARL, a Swiss parts subsidiary, and tax-saving practices.    

Issues with Caterpillar SARL have dogged the company for eight years, sparking a Senate investigation, shareholder lawsuits, and proposed taxes and penalties totaling $2 billion.

RogerW / Flickr

The New York Times is raising the question of Tax and Accounting Fraud by Peoria-based Caterpillar, Incorporated, not just negligence in taxes owed. Citing a confidential report to federal investigators, the Times alleges Caterpillar did not comply with either U.S. tax law or U.S. financial reporting rules.

Leslie Robinson of the Accounting Department at Dartmouth is the author of the report. The story quoted Robinson saying she believed the company's non compliance was deliberate and primarily with the intention of maintaining a higher share price.

McLean County Sheriff's Dept.

A Bloomington man has been found not guilty by reason of insanity in connection with the stabbing deaths of his parents last July.

25 year-old Brian Petersen was accused of murdering his parents, Nancy and Bruce, at their rural Bloomington home. McLean County Judge Robert Freitag determined during a 30-minute bench trial Brian Petersen didn't understand the criminal aspect of his actions when he attacked his parents.

Jon Norton / WGLT

The recent immigration directives from the Trump administration and Department of Homeland Security widened the net of undocumented people in the U.S. considered a priority for deportation. Immigration  attorney Charlotte Alvarez said that is changing how she offers advice.

"We're advising anyone who is undocumented to seek legal counselor to see if there's any options for adjusting or changing their status," said Alvarez. 

Alisdare Hickson/Creative Commons

"Even though I don't have documents, this is my country and I will do whatever to defend it," said a 30-year-old undocumented immigrant who wants to be called Victor because he fears being deported under new Trump administration policies.

Cristian Jaramillo / WGLT

Armed robberies and shootings were up in Bloomington last year, but most major crime categories were down.

Police Chief Brendan Heffner said that's according to the annual crime report.

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