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updated: 2/10/2012 2:22 PM

Dad's outburst interrupts Wayne man's sentencing

Slain teen's father lashes out at judge, who yells back, then forgives

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  • Onofrio Lorusso

      Onofrio Lorusso

 
 

A judge Thursday sentenced a Wayne man to 30 days in jail and 90 days on an alcohol monitoring device for violating his probation in a DUI that killed a St. Charles East High School graduate.

That prompted an angry outburst from and a contempt of court charge for the victim's father.

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Kane County prosecutors wanted Onofrio "Josh" Lorusso, 20, to go to prison after he was caught at an underage drinking party Nov. 5, 2011, in Des Plaines.

But Judge Timothy Sheldon said Thursday he was "not prepared to give up on Josh," prompting groans from relatives of the victim, Cameron Godee, 17, of West Chicago, and the outburst from the boy's father.

"How much did they pay you this time?" Gregory Godee yelled at Sheldon, before he was handcuffed by security officers and taken away for contempt of court.

In May 2010, Sheldon cited "extraordinary circumstances" in sentencing Lorusso to three years of probation and 180 days in jail for killing Godee and injuring two others in a drunken driving crash June 14, 2009.

Lorusso also was ordered to pay $30,000 restitution and to give anti-drunken driving talks at schools. He could have faced up to 14 years behind bars then -- and again Thursday.

Relatives of Godee read in the newspaper that Lorusso was ticketed at the Des Plaines party and brought the matter to Kane County authorities.

Godee's grandmother, Kathryn Godee, wanted Lorusso to go to jail for a year.

"We didn't get any justice at all," she said. "(Lorusso) didn't learn his lesson. It was my son's only son, my only grandchild. It's very difficult. Don't tell me he had a sip of beer. Don't tell me it was the first time."

Kane County Assistant State's Attorney Kelly Orland said Lorusso blew his chance and was hypocritical in giving anti-drunken driving talks for the Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists when he drank on at least one occasion before the party in Des Plaines.

"It's two faces of the defendant," Orland said. "One sip, a half a sip, five beers, a case of beer -- it's a violation of his probation."

Lorusso paid a $250 fine and told Sheldon that he drank only half a beer that night.

"I'm very sorry for letting you down. I know you're very disappointed, just like everyone else," Lorusso told Sheldon, his voice cracking.

"I broke the rules. Clearly, I'm not supposed to drink and I did drink."

Lorusso, who turns 21 next week, began serving his jail sentence immediately and his probation still runs through May 2013.

Lorusso had a blood- alcohol concentration of .22, which is nearly three times the legal threshold of .08, and marijuana in his system when he lost control of his 2005 Ford Explorer going 77 mph on a 25-mph residential street in St. Charles.

The crash killed Godee, the front-seat passenger.

The crash happened a week after both Lorusso and Godee graduated from St. Charles East.

Godee had been partying at his parents' home because his mom was out of town and his father, a truck driver, was on the road.

Before Gregory Godee was taken to a holding cell in handcuffs for his outburst, an angry Sheldon told Godee that the lack of parental supervision was a factor in Cameron's death.

"You were gone," Sheldon told Gregory Godee, noting that 300 empty beer cans were found at the home. "You can't blame everything on (Lorusso) when you and your wife left your home unattended."

After a short recess and after Lorusso was sentenced, Godee apologized for his outburst and Sheldon let him go.

"I understand the hurt. The hurt is still close to the nerve," Sheldon said.

"If I had my druthers, I would not have accepted this case. It's a very, very emotional case."

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