Woman texts dad, calls Chicago police for help in last moments of her life

CHICAGO — In the last moments of her life, Julia Martin tried saving herself after she was repeatedly stabbed by her ex-boyfriend, who then killed himself.

Martin’s ex had come over to her apartment Friday night to pick up the engagement ring Martin wanted to return to him.

According to police, he forced open the door to her apartment in the 3000 block of South King Drive and stabbed her repeatedly. He then jumped to his death from the apartment.

Martin, 27, who is from Detroit, attempted to save her own life by grabbing her phone, calling police, and asking them to send an ambulance, according to the Chicago Tribune. She then called and texted her father, Derrick Martin.

The text message read: “Call me ASAP.”  But he didn’t see the text message from his daughter until it was too late.

“Not only did she call me, she texted me while she was going through all this,” Derrick Martin told the Tribune. “She was calling everybody, saying that she wanted help. She called another friend and she was panting over the phone, trying to get her breath. He thought it was a prank and he hung up on her. He feels so bad.”

Martin was transported to Northwestern Memorial Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

As of Monday, the ex-boyfriend had not been identified by the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

Derrick says there was no indication Julia’s ex-boyfriend was dangerous. He says she had recently told her ex that she had started dating again.

She was with her ex-boyfriend for about three years, and called it off with him about six months ago.

To get more news and updates click on: http://wgntv.com/2016/10/11/woman-texts-dad-calls-police-for-help-in-last-moments-of-her-life/

Judge tosses $40M excessive-force suit against Ferguson police

A federal judge on Monday dismissed a $40 million suit that claimed police in Ferguson, Missouri, used excessive force against protesters after police fatally shot Michael Brown in 2014.

U.S. District Judge Henry Autry dismissed the case on Monday, report NBC News, the Associated Press, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the Courthouse News Service.

Autrey’s decision (PDF) said the protesters who sued had ignored repeated warnings to disperse, and the police officers were entitled to qualified immunity. The officers “acted without malice or bad faith; they clearly had arguable probable cause to arrest any individuals who refused to comply with the orders to disperse,” Autrey said.

Excessive force claims by the plaintiffs couldn’t be proven or were undercut by contrary evidence, Autrey said. One plaintiff who alleged he was subjected to a “gruesome” beating by five or six officers had told paramedics he was shot with rubber bullets and subjected to tear gas after failing to heed orders to disperse, and his X-rays and CT scans were normal.

Another woman said she was arrested inside a McDonald’s and police officers rushed her “like something out of a movie.” But videos showed she was arrested a block away, Autrey said.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs filed a notice of appeal.

One of the lawyers for the protesters, Gregory Lattimer, commented on the ruling in an interview with the Post-Dispatch. “It’s unfortunate that the Constitution has such a rough time in Missouri, but I think that the court of appeals will look at this and make a determination that … the judge’s refusal to allow these cases to go forward was not consistent with applicable law,” he said.

“This is summary judgment and a jury should have been able to decide whether or not these actions were OK,” Lattimer said.

To get more news and updates click on:http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/judge_tosses_40m_excessive_force_suit_against_ferguson_police

Judge tosses verdict against cop in alleged road-rage incident, cites trial misconduct by lawyer

A federal judge in Chicago is citing attorney misconduct in tossing a $260,000 jury verdict on behalf of a woman who claimed she was injured by an off-duty Chicago police officer in a road-rage incident.

U.S. District Judge Sara Ellis said plaintiffs’ lawyer Dana Kurtz had shown a “pervasive and severe” pattern of misconduct at trial, the Chicago Tribunereports. Ellis said Kurtz had asked questions to elicit banned testimony, improperly coached witnesses and apparently made misrepresentations to the court.

“Rather than abide by rules with which she disagreed and take up those rulings on appeal as necessary,” Ellis wrote, “Kurtz chose simply to ignore them whenever convenient to her case.”

Ellis’ decision (PDF) overturned the excessive-force verdict for Nicole Tomaskovic, who alleged off-duty officer William Szura had slammed her against her car and a concrete barrier during the July 2007 incident, rupturing two discs in her back. Ellis did not award attorney fees to Szura and the city of Chicago, however, because the claims of Tomaskovic and two other plaintiffs were not frivolous.

Jurors did not award any damages to the other two plaintiffs who had alleged Szura forced them off the road and drew a gun. One said Szura struck her in the face and the other said Szura knocked her down. Tomaskovic had been following in another car, and ran to help the two women.

Szura had alleged that one of the women had pushed him and then all three attacked him, according to prior coverage by the Chicago Tribune. The incident had occurred when the women were on their way home from a gay pride parade in which Szura had worked crowd control. He alleged the two women in the car behind him were tailgating and one of them threw something at his vehicle. At the December trial, Szura testified that he braked and then pulled over to calm down.

The three women were charged with criminal battery, but were acquitted at a criminal trial in 2008, according to the prior Tribune story.

Ellis’ Sept. 29 opinion provided several examples of Kurtz’s alleged wrongdoing. At one point, Kurtz asked a police officer on the stand whether police are supposed to document instances when they draw their guns. The question “was a clear attempt” to elicit barred testimony about the internal police investigation of the incident, Ellis said.

Kurtz then asked the officer whether the officer was upset by the judge’s decision in the criminal case. That question sought to elicit banned testimony about a criminal court judge’s findings about the credibility of Szura and other officers, Ellis said. Kurtz also asked the officer about police rules regarding investigation of certain situations and forms that need to be completed in certain situations. Those questions were also designed to elicit testimony about the internal investigation, according to Ellis.

Ellis also said Kurtz gave an excuse that was “simply not credible” when she was reminded she should not ask questions about 911 calls because the court had not yet ruled on their admissibility. Kurtz had offered this excuse: “I’m sorry, Your Honor. I completely—no excuse, but I forgot you were going to review the 911, and I apologize. ” Yet the issue had been discussed less than two hours before, Ellis said.

Kurtz also asked one of the plaintiffs whether anyone at the scene was given a breath test for alcohol, even though Ellis had barred evidence about failure to perform such a test on Szura, Ellis said.

At another point Kurtz asked a police officer on the stand, “Would you agree that Officer Szura as an involved party should have been subject to the same type of examination as the girls?” Ellis said the question was another attempt to garner banned testimony, and Kurtz moved on after an objection, “apparently satisfied that she had sufficiently made her point to the jury that there was some sort of cover-up or conspiracy.”

Two of the plaintiffs and the plaintiffs’ expert also made statements that violated rulings on banned evidence, Ellis said. Tomaskovic twice testified about banned subjects, and when the judge asked if Kurtz had instructed her about banned topics, Tomaskovic said her lawyer had not given any such instructions. After court adjourned, Tomaskovic re-entered the courtroom, said she had not understood the question, and Kurtz had indeed told her before trial that there were certain things she couldn’t talk about.

“The court finds it ludicrous that after answering clear direct questions in the negative,” Ellis wrote, “Tomaskovic independently remembered that she did in fact receive preparation from her attorney and independently decided to go back into the courtroom to inform the court of her error.”

Ellis also said the Tribune had published an article about the case after the first day of trial that included audio files and 911 transcripts that had not been entered into evidence, as well as still shots from a day-in-the-life video showing Tomaskovic’s physical condition around the time of her back surgery. Kurtz told the judge she gave the reporter the video in 2013 but she did not give him the 911 materials. Ellis found that “the most likely scenario is that Kurtz or someone working at her direction provided the materials” to the Tribune.

“While it is possible that each individual incident, standing alone, should rightly be given the benefit of the doubt and would not merit a severe sanction,” Ellis wrote, “the continuous, repetitive nature of the misconduct, the fact that plaintiffs’ counsel did not improve her conduct in the face of numerous warnings, and plaintiffs’ counsel’s history of censure support the court’s finding that her conduct at trial was willful, egregious, and not entitled to a presumption of unintentionality.”

Kurtz had been previously sanctioned by another federal judge for “repeated attempts to introduce inadmissible and prejudicial evidence before the jury,” Ellis said. The judge in the prior case had granted a new trial.

The plaintiffs are represented by a new attorney.

Kurtz tells the ABA Journal in a voice mail message that the opinion is “very unfortunate.”

“The three women deserve justice,” Kurtz said. “I work very hard to do a good job representing my clients.”

Ellis had formerly worked as a lawyer for the city of Chicago defending police officers accused of wrongdoing, according to the Tribune.

To get more news and updates click on:http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/judge_tosses_verdict_against_cop_in_alleged_road_raid_incident_cites_pervas

4 found shot to death in Kankakee County over weekend

KANKAKEE COUNTY, Ill. — The Kankakee County Sheriff’s Office is investigating four homicides that took place in 36 hours over the weekend.

The Daily Journal reports the bodies of three men were discovered inside a home on 15500E Road in Pembroke Township just before 1 p.m. Sunday.

The three bodies had been shot. Their identities have not been released at this time.

The sheriff’s office says it’s investigating the homicides in connection with a fourth that took place Saturday.

Around 1:12 p.m. Saturday, a man was found shot to death on 11725 E Road. Ralph Ledet, 46,  was found laying the side of the road. He was reportedly shot multiple times.

A news conference will be held later this morning by the Kankakee Sheriff regarding these homicides.

If you have any information, please call Crime Stoppers at: 815-93-CRIME

To get more news and updates click on:http://wgntv.com/2016/10/03/4-found-shot-to-death-in-kankakee-county-over-weekend/

Helping those who are first to help: How first responders cope with PTSD

First responders save lives. They quickly throw themselves into life-threatening situations, but at what cost? Tonight we continue coverage of a growing problem in this country – PTSD, drug addiction and even suicide among those who devote their lives to others.

Dan DeGryse: “I tell anybody, ‘You’ve got to have somebody to talk to,’ and that’s what I’m trying to do.”

It’s a conversation Dan DeGryse says is critical among those in the fire service. He’s been on the job for 27 years – the Chicago Battalion chief who’s also a behavioral health counselor has made it his mission to help those who selflessly serve others.

Dan DeGryse: “What I’ve learned, it changes us physiologically. It changes us mentally, and unless we get some support some help some education it festers, it continues.”

The images cause the damage — the horrific scenes first responders carry with them long after they’ve put out the fire or transported a patient to the hospital. There are resources at the fire house, but there’s also reluctance to ask for help.

Dan DeGryse: “We have to in the fire service, as we do ask people when we go on runs, ask our own members, ‘How are you doing?’ And when they say ‘Hey I’m good,’ say ‘No really, how are you doing?’”

The answers – from those willing to talk – are alarming. Twenty percent of fire fighters and EMS workers suffer with post-traumatic stress disorder. At the same time, many turn to drugs and alcohol to cope with depression and anxiety. Some take their lives.

Dan DeGryse: “When you keep finding out about men on the job and off the job that are taking their lives, that’s pretty impactful. There are 35,000 fire departments across the country. Not everyone is open to the idea that substance abuse or mental health issue. Can we do something specific to the fire fighter paramedic population because something is missing?”

That’s how the Florian Program started — an inpatient recovery unit at Rosecrance treatment center in Rockford.

Dan DeGryse: “Since we’ve started the Florian Program, we’ve treated over 100 fire fighters and paramedics across the country. I’m very proud of that.”

But he hopes to reach hundreds more – this week the Rosecrance Florian Program is hosting a symposium that will feature speakers from around the country – experts in addiction, PTSD, depression and suicide.

Dan DeGryse: “The fire service has been around for 175 years. There haven’t been treatment centers like this, and there haven’t been venues to bring people together to learn about what’s going on with our men and women in the fire service, fire fighters and paramedics.”

The symposium is open to anyone interested in learning more about the mental health struggles in fire service. It will take place Wednesday through Friday at the Loew’s Chicago O’Hare Hotel.

To learn more about the Rosecrance Florian Symposium, go tohttp://www.rosecranceflorian.org/
To learn more about treatment at the Rosecrance Florian Program, go tohttp://www.rosecrance.org/florian

To get more news and updates click on:http://wgntv.com/2016/09/27/helping-those-who-are-first-to-help-how-first-responders-cope-with-ptds/

Champaign police issue arrest warrant for 18-year-old in deadly U of I shooting

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Police say an arrest warrant for a first-degree murder charge has been issued for an 18-year-old man in the deadly shooting at a party on the University of Illinois campus.

Police said Wednesday that they’re looking for Robbie Patton, of Champaign, and believe he’s still in the area.

The early Sunday shooting came during at a fight at an apartment in the campus’ main commercial district. George Korchev, a 22-year-old from Mundelein, was killed and three others were wounded. None of the victims was involved in the altercation.

Champaign County State’s Attorney Julia Rietz said Patton pleaded guilty in April to aggravated discharge of a firearm in a December shooting incident.

A judge sent him to boot camp instead of to prison over objections from prosecutors, and Patton completed boot camp three weeks ago.

To get more news and updates click on:http://wgntv.com/2016/09/28/arrest-warrant-issued-for-18-year-old-in-deadly-u-of-i-shooting/

Former Illinois National Guardman, cousin sentenced in terror plot

CHICAGO — A former Illinois National Guard soldier who pleaded guilty to terrorism-related charges has been sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Hasan Edmonds was sentenced Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Chicago.

Earlier, his cousin, 30-year-old Jonas Edmonds, received a 21-year prison sentence.

Prosecutors say the 23-year-old Hasan Edmonds planned to travel to the Middle East to join Islamic State fighters. They claimed Jonas Edmonds planned to wear his cousin’s uniform as a disguise during an attack at an armory southwest of Chicago.

Hasan Edmonds pleaded guilty last year to conspiring to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization.

In court Tuesday, Jonas Edmonds said he dropped Hasan Edmonds at the airport to travel to the Middle East to join Islamic State fighters. But Jonas Edmonds denied he would have attacked the military armory in Joliet.

To get more news,updates and details click on:http://wgntv.com/2016/09/20/illinois-terror-suspects-sentenced/