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Articles Posted in Murder

The family of a missing woman is becoming increasingly more desperate as attempts to find her come up empty. The woman was on a cross-country excursion with her boyfriend at the time of her disappearance. Police have named the boyfriend a person of interest after failing to cooperate with the investigation. However, not answering the police’s questions is not an indication of wrongdoing.

Nonetheless, when police ask a close association of a missing person questions concerning their disappearance, their tendency is to assume that anyone who is impeding the investigation is responsible for the crime. However, police also tend to assume that boyfriends or husbands are responsible for the deaths of girlfriends and wives in a large cross-section of these sorts of cases. Hence, a boyfriend may be hesitant about providing information to officers who are prone to accuse him of the crime.

What happened?

The daughter-in-law of a Cook County board president has been charged with a grisly murder that occurred inside of an Atlanta home. Prosecutors have accused 40-year-old Ronisha Preckwinkle of murder, evidence tampering, and false imprisonment. When the couple lived here in Chicago, police records indicate that there were numerous domestic calls to their residence. However, Preckwinkle’s husband called the charges against his wife “preposterous.” 

Ronisha Preckwinkle is accused of helping a registered sex offender carry out a disturbing attack on a 23-year-old woman. Since the attack occurred in her apartment, she is being charged with the assault. However, her husband says that is not where she was living.

Preckwinkle is accused of helping Dennis Lane, a recently paroled sex offender here in Illinois. Lane has been charged with felony murder and necrophilia. Police are currently running his DNA to tie him to other killings. Preckwinkle and Lane’s brother are accused of helping Lane dispose of the body and remove key pieces of evidence from the apartment.

Two people are facing charges related to sexual assault and the concealment of a dead body. Police have charged a 40-year-old man and an 18-year-old girl with aggravated criminal sexual abuse, and manufacturing of child pornography, among other related charges. The 40-year-old man assaulted the teen girl while the 18-year-old videotaped the incident. 

Police were called to the scene after an area person called in a body. The girl was pronounced dead at the scene. She was later identified as a girl who had been reported missing.

What Happened?

Baby-shaking prosecutions involve parents or guardians who shake their babies to get them to stop crying, usually, in a fit of rage. In one case, an Australian man was convicted when two forensic experts testified that baby-shaking was the likely cause of the child’s homicide. The man was imprisoned for nine years.

The controversy surrounds a “triad” of injuries that appear to indicate a baby-shaking homicide. These include bleeding of the brain, retinal hemorrhage, and swelling of the brain. In many cases, there are no external injuries to the baby at all. The belief that “triad-only” symptomology is at a 1:1 correspondence to baby shaking is now at the center of a hot controversy between prosecutors and scientists. Some forensic experts say that the triad automatically indicates shaking or abuse, while others are not so sure. The latter’s argument is gaining traction due to a recent article contesting the science behind such prosecutions.

The article specifically called out the two expert witnesses who testified in the baby-shaking case mentioned above. The scientist concluded that there was no finding of fact that implicated the defendant in that lawsuit to baby shaking, and the theory behind such prosecutions was based on studies conducted in cases where individuals allegedly confessed to the crimes. By comparing confessions to abuse, the experts were able to (by analogy) claim that the defendant was guilty of baby-shaking.

Back in the old days, they made you burn a saint to prove your loyalty to the gang was above all other considerations. Today, it appears that carjackings are fulfilling the same role. Carjackings are on the rise in Chicago with a healthy cross-section of defendants under the age of 18.

Recently, a group of 14-year-olds carjacked an off-duty police officer. They are facing charges. One of the teens was on home monitoring at the time of the carjacking, leaving everyone to wonder how he was allowed out of his home to commit a crime. 

In another case, a Chicago 18-year-old is facing charges related to the carjacking of a rideshare driver. He is facing charges related to carjacking, armed violence, and causing a death while committing a violent crime. Meanwhile, many of these perpetrators are being charged under federal law, and federal authorities aid Chicago police in tamping down violent crime, gang violence, and weapons crimes. The same boy was arrested for another carjacking in March.

A special prosecutor has been appointed to investigate Kim Foxx’s State’s Attorney’s Office after the prosecutor trying the case of Jackie Wilson admitted to having a relationship with a witness and then lied on the stand. The ruling included extremely aggressive language describing the incident as an “absolute disgrace,” terminology which has been thrown around a lot in reference to Chicago’s criminal justice system recently. At the very least, the judge accused the State Attorney’s office of ineptitude but also indicated that there is evidence of a cover-up. 

Cook County prosecutors argued passionately against having an independent special prosecutor involved in the case. However, they also said they welcomed the investigation and that they would not oppose further investigation into Nick Trutenko who allegedly perjured himself on the stand after having an illicit relationship with a witness. 

The special prosecutor will have the authority to investigate the office for wrongdoing surrounding the breakdown of a high-profile case that was highlighted by prosecutorial misconduct. If criminal charges are warranted, the prosecutor will have the authority to convene a grand jury.

Adam Toledo is among the latest victims of police violence, but bodycam footage shows the officer making a split-second decision as Toledo turned around. Toledo had deposited the gun behind a fence and was no longer holding it when the officer discharged his weapon. He had put his hands up, and in the heat of the moment, the officer shot him. The officer involved in the shooting will not face any charges related to Toledo’s death. The same cannot be said for the 21-year-old, Ruben Roman, who allegedly gave Toledo the gun.

What Police Think Happened

Roman and Toledo were together. Roman was discharging his weapon. The sound startled nearby residents, who called the police. Roman knew that the police were coming, so he gave the weapon to a 13-year-old who would not face charges. Roman had already faced weapons charges and was on gun probation at the time of the incident. So that is how the 13-year-old ended up with the weapon. The 13-year-old is running around with the weapon, police order him to drop it and put his hands up, and even though he complies, they shoot. Toledo dies.

A Chicago man who drove his pickup truck into picnickers is facing four counts of attempted murder. The man struck two people in a group of 10—people who he dubbed, “yuppies with dogs.” 

Prosecutors said that 10 people were celebrating a birthday when Timothy Nielsen complained about their dogs. Members of their group asked the man to leave, but that is when he threw his truck in reverse and struck them. One woman was briefly trapped underneath the truck and was sent to the hospital with serious injuries. Another victim was treated at the scene for minor injuries.

The Defendant

For those of you who have not followed the story, Adam Toledo was a 13-year-old person of color who was shot dead by police officer Eric Stillman. Police received a call of weapons fire and they responded. Toledo and an older boy were allegedly firing into vehicles with loaded weapons. The cops responded, they caught up with Toledo on foot. The police officer was running with his weapon drawn when Toledo dumped his weapon and turned around with his hands up. The officer, not knowing whether or not Toledo was turning to shoot or to surrender, fired on the spot, killing Toledo. Should the officer be held accountable for this crime?

Where do We Lay the Blame?

Already, lines are beginning to form. On the one side, you have people blaming the police officer for using cowboy tactics to contain the situation. Others blame the 13-year-old, his parents, or the older boy who was with him at the time, Ruben Roman, who put the gun in his hands. Roman will face charges for putting the gun into the hands of the 13-year-old. But police-reform advocates believe that police are scapegoating Roman for their own mistake. Could it be that they are actually all right?

A 16-year-old who was recently released from juvenile detention will face charges as an adult for murdering 53-year-old Guillermo Antonio Quiles. This will be the second teen to face charges related to Quiles’s death

Ricmeal King Bolden had just been released from a juvenile detention facility for a weapons charge and possession of a stolen vehicle. 

Presenting the Defendant in the Best Possible Way

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