All Courts Police and Fire Content

All Courts Police and Fire Content

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.

UI police give warnings to get people to think about safety

University of Illinois police have been handing out warnings to pedestrians and motorists who violate laws that might affect safety.

Lt. "Skip" Frost said the "welcome back" notices are a reminder to everyone to be more safe.

Drug charges dismissed in restaurateur's case

URBANA – Drug charges lodged against an Urbana businessman earlier this year were dismissed Tuesday by a Champaign County prosecutor.

Assistant State's Attorney Sarah Carlson dismissed a possession of controlled substance charge against Michael Timpone, 49, of Sidney, after Judge Heidi Ladd ruled on Aug. 25 that cocaine found on Timpone could not be used as evidence against him because it was the result of an improper search by police.

Late October earliest opening possible after Urbana pool fire

URBANA – It will be the end of October – at the earliest – before anybody swims at the Urbana Indoor Aquatic Center.

The facility has been closed since a fire on July 24. Of the new timeline, park district marketing manager Dana Mancuso added, "it could be longer than that."