The case of a former Hanover Park man accused of beating a robbery victim with a brick in downtown Elgin has come to an abrupt and violent end.
The accused, Brandon K. Taylor, became Rockford's second homicide victim of 2017 when he was shot to death Feb. 14, Daily Herald Staff Writer Harry Hitzeman learned.
Taylor was just 17 when charged as an adult with armed robbery and aggravated battery in connection with the September 2013 attack in Elgin. Authorities said he and a 15-year-old accomplice beat a 42-year-old man in the head with the brick, fracturing the victim's skull, before stealing his bicycle and telephone.
Taylor had been free on bail awaiting trial when he was shot to death. His case was formally dismissed last week by Kane County authorities.
Rockford police have not made any arrests in Taylor's slaying. Another man was shot with him, but survived.
Ralph Lewis blames his lawyer for the extra 18 years he'll spend in prison for killing an Arlington Heights teen.
A state appeals court recently told him to look in the mirror instead.
Lewis, 46, is serving a 45-year sentence for first-degree murder in the death of Buffalo Grove High School student Corey Diamond, who died in a horrific July 2006 crash at Dundee and Schoenbeck roads in Wheeling.
Authorities say Lewis, formerly of Chicago, was in the midst of a high-speed chase that began in Gurnee when he ran a red light at the intersection and plowed his U-Haul into a car carrying Corey and two friends. Corey died from his injuries, and the car's driver, a Buffalo Grove teen, suffered brain injuries.
Lewis was asking a court to throw out his conviction and order a new trial. He claims his defense lawyer blew it in 2008 by advising him not to accept a plea deal that would have given him a 27-year sentence. He went to trial, was found guilty by a jury and received 18 additional years in prison.
In its unanimous Feb. 28 ruling, the state's First District Appellate Court noted a significant flaw in Lewis' argument -- he was acting as his own attorney for more than seven months while the 27-year offer sat on the table. He never accepted the plea bargain. Instead, justices note, when Lewis got a public defender five months before the case went to trial, he asked his lawyer to cut a better deal.
"Defendant simply cannot show that he would have accepted the alleged 27-year plea offer but for the allegedly deficient advice of counsel (when) he did not accept the 27-year offer while acting (as his own attorney)," Justice P. Scott Neville wrote.
Lewis is doing his time at the maximum-security Menard Correctional Center downstate. His projected parole date is July 10, 2051.
What's the gripe?
What did we consumers complain about most in 2016?
According to Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, consumer debt.
The category -- including mortgage lending, abusive debt collection practices and predatory payday loans -- ranked first on Madigan's Top 10 list of consumer complaints, released this week. Of 23,735 complaints in 2016, about 11 percent related to consumer debt.
Identity theft ranked second, followed by phone and investment scams, home improvement schemes and telecommunications gripes. Rounding out the Top 10: Education (such as for-profit schools), used auto sales, internet/mail order products, motor vehicle repair, and new auto sales.
You've heard how much teenagers love their cellphones. How much maybe we all do.
We came across a police report the other day documenting a case of that attachment gone way too far.
It stems from a dispute between a Geneva resident and his teenage daughter. She had lied about where she spent the night. He objected. They argued. He said that since she was disobeying him, he was taking her phone. After all, he pays for it.
Then things got really out of hand. She kicked him in the groin. Six times. Police were called by another member of the household. The injuries were significant enough that charges of domestic battery were filed against the daughter.
We're not identifying those involved because the point isn't to add to the family's angst or embarrass anybody.
The point is, there have to be better ways to resolve differences. And perhaps there's something wrong with our society when our devotion to our devices becomes stronger than our devotion to our loved ones.
Dodging the law
Teams from 30 Chicago-area law enforcement agencies, including the DuPage County state's attorney's office, FBI and Illinois State Police, will compete in the fifth annual Franklin Middle School dodgeball tournament in Wheaton today.
Why would a bunch of grown-ups don gym shorts to throw balls at each other?
Besides it being a lot of fun, the four-day tournament benefits a host of worthy causes, including the DuPage Hundred Club, Team Red, White and Blue, the Pat Tillman Foundation, and the host school. The DuPage Hundred Club helps families of firefighters and police killed or injured while working or living in DuPage County. Team Red, White and Blue aids military veterans. And the Tillman Foundation gives academic scholarships to veterans and their spouses.
Besides law enforcement, the tourney features teams from 28 local high school football squads and dozens more from Wheaton-area schools.
The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics released its 2015 data on workplace fatalities in Illinois.
Of the 172 deaths, 18 were intentional homicides, with 14 of them the result of gunfire. That's down from 19 and 13, respectively, in 2014.
The most common cause? Falls, slips and trips, with 33.
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