Tag Archives: Cook County Sheriff

Cook County sheriff launches hate crime hotline

(CHICAGO) Residents who have experienced hate crimes or been discriminated against can now call a hotline at the Cook County sheriff’s office to report the incident.

Anyone who feels they are being threatened or targeted as a result of their religion, race, nationality or sexual orientation should use the hotline, according to a statement from the sheriff’s office. The number for the hotline is (773) 674-4357.

The 24/7 hotline will receive a direct response from the sheriff’s office staff that will be able to connect callers to other helpful agencies or legal assistance, the sheriff’s office said.

“With the FBI reporting spikes in hate crimes nationwide, this will act as a pro-active resource,” Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart said. “Hate crimes should not be dismissed as a fleeting issue or only a problem outside of Cook County.”

The idea for a dedicated hotline came after Dart heard of increasing fear and intimidation in the county’s minority communities, especially the Muslim American community, according to the sheriff’s office.

“To protect the real strength of our community, our diversity, we must stand up for these good people,” Dart said.

Wrongfully convicted man set free; suspect charged in ’92 murder

Osborne Wade | Cook County sheriff's office
Osborne Wade | Cook County sheriff’s office

(CHICAGO) A convicted killer was charged Tuesday with the 1992 murder of a 6-year-old boy after prosecutors moved to vacate the conviction of a man who wrongfully served more than two decades for the crime.

Osborne Wade, 42, was charged in the slaying of Lindsey Murdock, a first-grader who was found dead in a vacant garage on the Far South Side after he was sexually assaulted, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.

Wade has been held in the Cook County Jail since June 30 for failing to register as a convicted murderer. He was 23 when he killed an 18-year-old man. Records show he lived in the same neighborhood where Lindsey was killed.

Mark Maxson is the 15th person whose conviction was vacated after a reinvestigation by Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez’s Conviction Integrity Unit that was formed in 2012.

The unit reviewed Maxson’s case after his attorneys, Elliott Zinger and Larry Dreyfus, filed a post-conviction petition on his behalf and persuaded a judge last year to authorize new DNA tests in the case.

The Illinois State Police tested Lindsey’s clothing, and on May 31 determined that DNA on his pants and shirt matched Wade’s DNA, records show. Wade has given a confession to the murder, a source said. He’s scheduled for a bond hearing Wednesday.

On Tuesday, prosecutors asked Judge Thaddeus Wilson to vacate Maxson’s conviction.

Maxson was released from Stateville Correctional Center on Tuesday afternoon. He was serving a life sentence.

Maxson initially drew the attention of police because he told a TV reporter he bought chips for Lindsey and told the boy to go home a day before he was found dead under debris in an abandoned garage near 107th and State. But police said Maxson’s story kept changing.

He allegedly confessed that he sexually assaulted and killed the boy in the garage after smoking crack and drinking beer.

Maxson accuses the detectives of punching and kicking him during their interrogations and says he was coerced into giving a confession.

No physical evidence linked Maxson to Lindsey’s murder. At his trial, a prosecution witness who examined a bloodstain on the boy’s shirt and one on his jeans testified the stains couldn’t have come from Maxson or the boy. Based on his confession, though, the jury convicted Maxson.

Before he was sentenced to life in prison, Maxson insisted he didn’t kill Lindsey.

“All of the evidence belonged to someone else,” Maxson told Judge Daniel Locallo at his sentencing in 1994. “I am charged with a crime I did not commit.” Locallo responded that Maxson possessed a “malignant heart” and needed to be eliminated from society.

© Copyright 2016 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved.

No bond for two charged with shooting at off-duty police officer in Humboldt Park

(CHICAGO) Two men charged with shooting toward an off-duty Chicago Police officer Thursday night on the West Side have been ordered held without bond.

Gustavo VillaGomez, 27, and Kevin Martinez, 20, both face one count of aggravated assault of a peace officer with a weapon, a felony, according to a statement from Chicago Police. VillaGomez was also cited for driving on a revoked license and Martinez was on bond for a previous firearm-related charge.

About 10:55 p.m. Thursday, the off-duty officer was at a red light in his personal vehicle in the 2600 block of West Division when an SUV approached on the passenger side and people inside yelled gang slogans at him, police said.

He identified himself as a Chicago Police officer and began to drive away, when the SUV followed and its occupants fired shots in his direction, police said. No one was injured.

The officer then drove to the Shakespeare District police station and gave a description of the SUV’s occupants, police said.

VillaGomez, of the 3200 block of South Lawndale, and Martinez, of the 1500 block of South 59th Avenue in Cicero, were apprehended a short time later and positively identified by the officer, police said.

On Sunday, they were both ordered held without bond, according to the Cook County sheriff’s office. They are both next scheduled to appear in court Monday.

Sheriff advertises prostitution sting but men still arrested

(MAYWOOD) The Cook County Sheriff’s Police told them they were coming.

The agency took an ad out on Backpage.com and warned it was “investigating and arresting” human sex traffickers and those who enable them by answering escort ads, the Sun-Times is reporting.

“They still did it,” Sheriff Tom Dart said Monday at his headquarters in Maywood. “We knew they would.”

So in the week leading up to the Super Bowl, Dart said his officers worked with suburban police departments on an online prostitution sting that netted more than 60 arrests across Cook County. Broadview, Lansing and Matteson also helped locally, Dart said, while a national sting caught just under 600 people.

Most of the people arrested were accused of trying to hire prostitutes online, the sheriff said. Officers posted fake ads, made arrangements to meet at hotel rooms with people who responded and arrested them after they arrived, he said.

But Dart also said they’ve made those arrests “over and over and over again.” So, he used a Monday morning news conference with U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., to attack the website that allegedly facilitated the prostitution: Backpage.com. Dart said it’s filled with ads for prostitution.

“Let’s be clear here,” Dart said. “There’s nothing else on their site there. There’s no massages. There’s no nothing.”

In an emailed statement, Liz McDougall, general counsel for Backpage.com, wrote: “Backpage.com is a general online classified advertising website with millions of ads for jobs, real estate and items for sale. Ads posted in the ‘adult’ category constitute less than 10% of the site’s overall ad content. Sheriff Dart’s conflicting portrayal of the site content is erroneous.”

Dart said Backpage.com cannot be held responsible under existing law for the advertisements its customers post. But Kirk said he’s pushing a bill with the help of U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., that could hold the site liable for content its users post.

Kirk said he’s optimistic about the bill’s chances because of his bipartisan coalition with Feinstein. However, Kirk has already been pushing such legislation for nearly a year.


© Copyright 2015 Sun-Times Media, LLC