Investigators get tips after 40th anniversary of Gacy arrest

CHICAGO (AP) — News coverage of last month’s 40th anniversary of serial killer John Wayne Gacy’s arrest has meant dozens of more tips for Illinois investigators trying to identify victims. The Cook County sheriff’s lead investigator tells the Chicago Sun-Times that about 10 of the 25 tips he’s received are worth pursuing. Gacy was convicted of…Read more…

Chicago inspectors find code violations at R. Kelly’s studio

CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago building inspectors have found code violations at R. Kelly’s recording studio, including evidence the industrial space was used as a residence. Building Department spokesman Gregg Cunningham says the agency will list the violations during a court hearing next week. He says the inspectors were looking at plumbing, electrical systems and carpentry.…Read more…

2001 murder case against Chicago man dropped by prosecutors

CHICAGO (AP) — Cook County prosecutors have vacated the murder conviction of a Chicago man and dropped all charges against him after he spent nearly 16 years in prison. Eric Blackmon learned to be a paralegal while in prison and represented himself in more than a decade of court appeals before winning a new trial…Read more…

Illinois governor orders worker-training investment review

BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) — Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has ordered a review of emerging industries so that state money for workforce training can be best used. The Democrat visited Southwestern Illinois Community College in Belleville Wednesday. He signed his third executive order since becoming governor Monday. It requires a report within 90 days from the Department of…Read more…

Funeral service set for trooper killed during snowstorm

SOUTH BARRINGTON, Ill. (AP) — Funeral services are set for an Illinois State Police trooper killed when he was struck and killed by a vehicle along Interstate 294 in suburban Chicago during a snowstorm. The funeral for Trooper Christopher Lambert is planned for 10 a.m. Friday at Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington. The 34-year-old Lambert…Read more…

Plea hearings set for 2 of 3 men accused in Mosque bombing

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Two of three militia members accused of bombing a Minnesota mosque have hearings scheduled next week in federal court to change their pleas. Online court records show hearings for Michael McWhorter and Joe Morris on Jan. 24. The two men, along with Michael Hari, are accused of driving from Clarence,…Read more…

Ballistics tests prove Illinois man innocent in murder case

An Illinois judge acquitted a man of murder Wednesday, more than two decades after jurors convicted him by relying on ballistics that proved to be wrong. Supporters of 53-year-old Patrick Pursley clapped in a Winnebago County courtroom when Judge Joseph McGraw issued his ruling, saying prosecutors had scant evidence to prove Pursley’s guilt. The ruling…Read more…

Illinois parents get decades in child’s starvation death

JERSEYVILLE, Ill. (AP) — An Illinois father and stepmother will spend decades in prison after pleading guilty to murder in the starvation death of their 6-year-old son, who authorities said weighed just 17 pounds (8 kilograms) when he died. The Alton Telegraph reports a judge sentenced Michael L. Roberts to 25 years and Georgena L. Roberts…Read more…

Woman sues LaSalle County for being forcibly stripped

CHICAGO (AP) — A federal lawsuit was filed Tuesday by a woman who claims LaSalle County sheriff’s deputies violated her civil rights when they forcibly stripped her following a 2017 arrest. The attorney for Zandrea Askew said three female deputies stripped the former Marine sergeant on Jan. 20, 2017, after she refused to cooperate with…Read more…

Pritzker restores wage increases, signs pay equity order

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Gov. J.B. Pritzker used his first full day in office Tuesday to restore frozen pay increases for state government employees in Illinois and took other pro-labor actions. The Democrat gave the order for more than 20,000 union workers to start receiving seniority-based “step” increases in salary that Republican former Gov. Bruce…Read more…

Texas man gets 35 years in 8-state child pornography scheme

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — Federal prosecutors in central Illinois say a Texas man has been sentenced to 35 years in prison for child pornography charges involving more than 40 girls in eight states. Prosecutors said Tuesday that a federal judge sentenced 36-year-old Mark P. Barnwell of Whitehouse, Texas, on Jan. 9. Authorities say he used…Read more…

Archdiocese of Chicago closing undergraduate seminary

CHICAGO (AP) — The Archdiocese of Chicago says it’s closing its undergraduate seminary at Loyola University Chicago due to changing priesthood demographics. The archdiocese said in a Monday release that St. Joseph College Seminary had 20 students enrolled and officials expected a small incoming class. The archdiocese says “the need to steward” resources led officials…Read more…

Illinois parents to be sentenced in child’s starvation death

JERSEYVILLE, Ill. (AP) — An Illinois father and stepmother face sentencing after pleading guilty to murder in the starvation death of their 6-year-old son, who authorities said weighed just 17 pounds (8 kilograms) when he died. Court records show a Wednesday sentencing hearing is scheduled for Michael L. Roberts and Georgena L. Roberts of Jerseyville.…Read more…

Texas man gets 35 years in 8-state child pornography scheme

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — Federal prosecutors in central Illinois say a Texas man has been sentenced to 35 years in prison for child pornography charges involving more than 40 girls in eight states. Prosecutors said Tuesday that a federal judge sentenced 36-year-old Mark P. Barnwell of Whitehouse, Texas, on Jan. 9. Authorities say he used…Read more…

Former Sesser mayor arrested on meth charges

FRANKLIN COUNTY — Former Sesser Mayor Ned Mitchell and a Sesser woman were arrested on drug charges Tuesday afternoon after Sesser Police executed a search warrant at a home in Sesser around 2 p.m. According to a press release from Sesser Police, a subsequent search of the home produced methamphetamine and items consistent with the…Read more…