A Western Springs man was sentenced to six years in prison Tuesday after he pleaded guilty to stalking a DuPage County judge.
Through his plea, John Euwema, 58, of 3900 block of Central Ave., admitted to anonymously sending a package to the home of Judge Kathryn Creswell in July 2013 while facing a felony driving charge in her courtroom. The package, addressed to Creswell's husband, contained a letter and a copy of the book "Cowboy Ethics" with a $100 bill tucked inside.
Creswell's husband received further correspondence by email on Sept. 20, 2013, the same day Euwema began serving a 90-day jail term imposed by Creswell. Assistant State's attorney Shanti Kulkarni said the multiple-paged letters referenced the judge's children, alluded to other details of Creswell's personal life, and offered work to Creswell's husband, who is an architect.
Kulkarni said Euwema was charged after a search of his office turned up a box of 49 live rounds of .357 ammunition, a photo of one of the judge's children and evidence of Internet searches related to the judge's family. Also seized were two ID cards belonging to other people and a plaque identifying Euwema as a "lifetime associate" of the Ku Klux Klan.
Kulkarni said Euwema sent the material because he believed he would be able to work out a "backroom deal" with the judge.
Euwema was initially denied bail by John Barsanti, a Kane County judge brought in to hear the case because of potential conflicts of interest. Barsanti said Euwema posed a "real and present threat" to Creswell and her family.
In addition to his six-year sentence, Euwema must also obey a lifetime order of protection against Cresswell, her husband and her children, and pay more than $3,500 in fines.
"Any threatening or harassing contact with an officer of the court will carry significant consequences, as Mr. Euwema learned today," DuPage County State's Attorney Robert Berlin said after the sentencing. "The fair and impartial administration of justice requires that the judiciary be allowed to perform their duties free from harassment or fear of retribution."
Euwema must serve half of the six-year sentence and will receive credit for the 11 months he has been held in custody without bail. With good behavior, he will likely be paroled in the fall of 2016.
Euwema's background includes several arrests for drunken driving, including one case in which he was sentenced to four years in prison.