All Courts Police and Fire Content

All Courts Police and Fire Content

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.

Continuous system appears to help trials move along promptly

"Might as well take your belts off. Make sure you have everything out of your pockets. Put it in the bowls. Put the bowl on the conveyor." – Champaign County court security officer Ashlee Vercler

Jury convicts teen in death of 3-year-old

URBANA – The mother of a 3-year-old boy who was beaten to death two years ago was happy with a jury's conviction of her former boyfriend for the murder.

"He beat him bloody," said Rochelle Bolden, 24, now of Kankakee. "I didn't like that. He beat him to death."

Jurors hear grim details of boy's death

URBANA – Rochelle Bolden stepped off the witness stand Wednesday after testifying against the man accused of killing her son and lingered for a moment by the prosecutor's table, looking at her son's portrait.

The 24-year-old Kankakee woman, described as mentally retarded by her grandmother, had just finished telling the jury emphatically that she did not beat her children. But she said that Dwayne Croom, her former boyfriend, beat them and her.

Report says courtroom attacker still mentally ill

URBANA – More than nine years after he threw a Molotov cocktail at a judge in Urbana, John Ewing Jr. remains mentally ill, according to a report to local federal court.

Ewing, now 46, is confined and being treated at the federal mental health treatment unit for federal prisoners in Springfield, Mo.