All Courts, Police, and Fire Content

All Courts, Police, and Fire Content

Three-year-old dies in Champaign fire

CHAMPAIGN – A 3-year-old Champaign boy died Monday evening in a fire at 1313 Hedge Road, Champaign, a residential neighborhood directly north of Kraft Foods.

Champaign Fire Deputy Chief Tim Wild said the child was found in a closet in a bedroom of the single-story home. His mother and two siblings escaped the fire that heavily damaged the home.

Car used in man's kidnapping seized

URBANA – A car used in the kidnapping of a local restaurant chain owner has been seized by investigators.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Rick Cox, arguing for the detention of Adrian Lopez, 32, said at a hearing Thursday in federal court in Urbana that authorities executed a search warrant and seized a car used by Lopez in the kidnapping of Antonio Aguas.

Technology helps METCAD track cell calls

URBANA – Emergency calls on cell phones are now being tracked more precisely by 911 dispatchers in Champaign County.

Greg Abbott, 911 coordinator for the Metropolitan Computer-aided Dispatch service, said the agency handles all wireless calls in the county.

Kidnapping ordeal has happy ending

CHAMPAIGN – Antonio Aguas stood silently with his brother, Ramiro Aguas, surrounded by Champaign police, FBI agents and a federal prosecutor at the Champaign Police Department on Monday.

That's quite a contrast to where he had been the past week.

Authorities said Monday that Antonio Aguas, 43, was kidnapped at gunpoint and held for more than $250,000 ransom. The demands were made to Ramiro Aguas, 44, over a series of phone calls from locations across Illinois and into Indiana.

Five years later, family still hoping for break

Five years after the death of a 59-year-old Champaign woman, sheriff's investigators are looking for an unidentified man who is linked to other crimes, and family members are looking for justice.

Linda Smith was found dead in her burning home at 302 Paul Ave. in Wilbur Heights by volunteers for the Eastern Prairie Fire Protection District the morning of Sept. 22, 2001.

Jury awards CX Roberson driver $314,452

URBANA – A Champaign County jury has awarded a former contract driver for CX Roberson $314,452 in his civil suit against the trucking company.

Obed Calderon was awarded $14,452 in actual damages, $50,000 for emotional distress and $250,000 in punitive damages in the verdict handed down Tuesday.

Jury acquits teen of murder

URBANA – Phillip Harris admitted that he repeatedly beat a Parkland College police officer in the head so his friend could stab him and told police that he hoped he would die for what he had done.

His mother, Sherry Harris, said her 17-year-old was prepared to hear the worst.

Judge doesn't allow two witnesses in Urbana murder trial

URBANA – Defense attorneys for accused murderer Phillip Harris rested their case Wednesday afternoon in Champaign County Circuit Court without calling any witnesses on his behalf – but not for lack of trying.

Champaign attorneys Ed Piraino and Walter Ding wanted to have co-defendants Paul McLaughlin and C.J. Tucker testify that they have already pleaded guilty for their roles in the Aug. 4, 2005, murder of Peter McLaughlin.

Retired cop's work ethic stood out

CHAMPAIGN – As a veteran police officer, Jerry Jamison faced violent death several times – most dramatically, in a dark warehouse facing "the second-best shot in Illinois."

Mr. Jamison survived that incident by more than 30 years, took a run at being mayor and died Saturday at 68, still working hard at more than one job.

Jury hears defendant's statements

URBANA – Jurors being asked to decide if a Champaign teen is guilty of the murder of a Parkland College police officer heard him tell detectives that he repeatedly struck the man in the head.

But Phillip Harris maintained it was his friend, Paul McLaughlin, who repeatedly stabbed his own father during a planned attack on the elder McLaughlin.