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updated: 3/3/2011 5:40 PM

Glendale Heights twin sister cops cleared in off-duty shooting probe

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  • Janelle Marcellis

      Janelle Marcellis

 
 

Two Glendale Heights police officers who were investigated for their role in an off-duty shooting at their Wayne home have been cleared of any wrongdoing.

Detective Jennifer Marcellis returned to the job last week and was placed on light administrative duty until she is cleared medically. Her twin sister, Janelle, resigned June 4 from her 10-year post as a police officer.

Janelle's resignation came amid department probes into the Jan. 30 shooting and an unrelated May 9 arrest on drunken driving charges in Glen Ellyn. The 32-year-old woman is charged with DUI and speeding 62 in a 35 mph zone. Police said she had a blood-alcohol level of .189, more than twice the legal limit of .08.

DuPage State's Attorney Joseph Birkett confirmed both sisters have been cleared of any wrongdoing in the shooting incident, in which he said their conduct and explanation of events were closely scrutinized. Glendale Heights Police Chief Michael Marron said Janelle Marcellis resigned while department officials still were investigating whether any of their policies and procedures were violated. Her resignation ended that internal probe, Marron said.

As for Jennifer Marcellis, Marron said she was an innocent victim of domestic violence. A Carol Stream woman both sisters identified in court records as their girlfriend is charged with shooting Jennifer Marcellis in the upper right arm during a dispute. The injured officer required surgery and was on sick leave to recuperate, Marron said.

Detectives with the DuPage County Major Crimes Task Force were called in to investigate the shooting, which occurred after Janelle Marcellis returned from attending a retirement party at a Clarendon Hills restaurant for a high-ranking member of the DuPage Metropolitan Enforcement Group.

Both sisters returned from paid administrative leave in March. But that soon changed.

Janelle Marcellis was placed back on paid administrative leave after her DUI arrest, Marron said, while her injured sister also went back on paid leave for an unrelated matter. The chief declined to elaborate, but he did say it wasn't related to her sister's DUI arrest or the Jan. 30 off-duty shooting.

Jennifer Marcellis is expected to make a full physical recovery, Marron said.

Meanwhile, reckless discharge of a firearm charges against the woman charged with shooting Marcellis still are pending. Maureen A. Manos, 48, has pleaded not guilty. Her attorney, Timothy Martin, who described the shooting as an accident, disputed the allegations and said he will challenge both officers' credibility as part of his defense.

The sisters' attorney, Laura Scarry, said they were victims in the shooting incident.

"There was never any reason for them to lie," Scarry said. "It wasn't their gun. She (Manos) brought the gun and she was never invited to the house. They were the victims in this investigation and until this matter gets resolved in court, only then will justice be served."

As for Janelle Marcellis' resignation, Scarry said: "She thought it was in her best interest. No one forced her to do so."

A defense attorney raised Jennifer Marcellis' credibility as a possible issue in a high-profile murder criminal case. She was an investigator in the Jan. 25, 2009 suffocation of an elderly Glendale Heights man whose son, George M. Panos Jr., 46, was charged with first-degree murder after providing a videotaped police confession. In an Aug. 2 ruling, DuPage Circuit Judge George Bakalis said he reviewed three sealed internal investigations and determined none contained information relevant to Jennifer Marcellis' credibility as a detective.

The judge denied the defense's request to review the documents.

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