Police and Courts | WGLT

Police and Courts

Staff / WGLT

The Appellate Prosecutor's Office has declined to file charges against Normal Town Council member Scott Preston for inaccurate travel expense reimbursement reports.

McLean County State's Attorney Jason Chambers had referred the matter to a special prosecutor because of his relationship with Preston and his former tenure on the Council.

11th Judicial Circuit

Judges in the 11th Circuit have retained Kevin Fitzgerald as Chief Judge of the circuit that includes Bloomington-Normal.

Fitzgerald was first elected Chief in 2014 and will serve another one year term.

Staff / WGLT

McLean County Prosecutors have now filed a formal charge of theft of government property against a former manager of U.S. Cellular Coliseum in Bloomington.

Back in July, Curtis Webb told GLT one of his goals was to be a good public steward of funds and to reduce the operating deficit at the venue.

GLT, The Pantagraph, and the Illinois Press Association have filed legal papers seeking to intervene in the Kirk Zimmerman murder case in Bloomington.  Zimmerman is charged with shooting to death his ex-wife Pamela in her office on East Washington, Street.

Zimmerman's defense lawyers want to prevent media coverage of arguments about two pre-trial motions and to hold the hearings in secret.  The motions deal with potential evidence that the defense believes is inflammatory enough to prevent a fair trial.

Illinois State University

It started as an Active Shooter alert followed by a warning to those on the Ohio State University campus to run-hide-fight, if need be.

It was over relatively quickly but nine people received injures from a butcher knife or being hit by a car.

Emma Shores/WGLT

In the last decade, the Bloomington Police Department has seized more than one point-one-million-dollars in property through asset forfeiture laws. The city has kept more than half of that money.

The Town of Normal has seized more than 800-thousand dollars in property.

Ralph Weisheit / WGLT

A McLean County Judge has found a 25-year old Bloomington man mentally fit to stand trial for murder.

Brian Peterson is accused of stabbing his parents to death in their rural home.

Bloomington Police Department

Bloomington Police report another night of gunfire, this time near Locust and Madison Streets.

A night earlier officers found a car that had been hit by bullets in the same general area.

Morton Library Stabber Pleads

Nov 16, 2016
Morton Public Library

A central Illinois man has pleaded guilty to charges related to an incident in which he stabbed a man in the Morton Public Library in anger over child pornography charges he faced. 

20-year-old Dustin Brown entered two guilty but mentally ill plea agreements that produced a sentence range of 16 to 94 years in prison. 

Schock Seeks Court Delay

Nov 16, 2016
Aaron Schock
Cass Herrington / WCBU

Attorneys for former Illinois Congressman Aaron Schock are asking a federal judge to postpone his arraignment on charges alleging he schemed to profit personally from his government job.

In a request to U.S. District Judge Sue E. Myerscough, Schock's lawyers say a Nov. 21 arraignment will interfere with a planned international business trip by the Peoria Republican.


Former Congressman Aaron Schock is being indicted.

That's according to the Peoria resident's attorney.

Ralph Weisheit / WGLT

It's unusual for Circuit Judges to lose the job.

They don't have to run very often and unless voters choose not to retain them, they keep their seat on the bench.

Staff / WGLT

A former political leader and McLean County board member  has pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud in connection with a false billing scheme against State Farm Insurance.

Matt Sorenson was accused of receiving more than four-hundred-thousand-dollars for consulting work never performed.

Staff / WGLT

Former McLean County Board Chair Matt Sorensen is scheduled for a change of plea hearing Wednesday afternoon in Federal Court in Chicago.

That's according to court records.

Michael Coghlan / Flickr

Illinois' new policy on shackling juveniles takes effect Tuesday. No longer can youth be handcuffed or forced to wear ankle chains in courtrooms without reason.

Head of the Juvenile Justice Initiative Betsy Clarke calls automatic shackling an outdated practice.

"And it interferes of course with not just your own self-esteem and is traumatic and painful as well, but it also interferes with your ability to communicate with your lawyer and so forth," Clarke said.

Human Trafficking Rescue Group: Twin Cities Has Five Brothels

Nov 1, 2016
Catalyst Ministries

Bloomington-Normal has five brothels.

That's according to Catalyst Ministries President and Founder Julie Ryan.

Donald / Flickr/Creative Commons

A Bloomington woman has received a four-year prison sentence for neglecting an elderly family member.

Prosecutors say sixty-year-old Doreen Rodgers had her housing, expenses, and a monthly allowance paid for by the older man.

Bloomington Police Dept.

Bloomington Police have arrested fifty-nine-year-old woman for shooting a man early Sunday morning.

The incident happened about 1:34 a.m. in the Hilltop Mobile Home Park.

Emma Shores/WGLT

Traffic stops in Normal have increased dramatically since the police department began a policy requiring officers to have a minimum off two contacts with citizens during each shift.

Police made 19,637 traffic stops last year compared to 12,961 in 2014 -- an increase of 51 percent.

That amounts to an additional 21 stops a day, according to Illinois State University Criminal Justice Professor Michael Gizzi, who analyzed the traffic stop data.

Female professor wearing Black Lives Matter t-shirt
Nikita Richardson / NDR Communications

The Black Lives Solidarity Day at Illinois State University started with a campus visit from a Seattle educator a couple of weeks ago and it sparked an effort to join his initiative to raise awareness of the need for systemic changes to guarantee equality. 

Ralph Weisheit

A special prosecutor has been appointed to look into travel expenses filed by a member of the Normal Town Council.

McLean County State's Attorney Jason Chambers declined to look into the matter, citing his previous service on the Council as a barrier and forwarded  the issue to the Appellate Prosecutor's office.

Tannen Maury / EPA

The attorney general for Illinois is calling on state lawmakers to pass legislation removing statutes of limitations for child sex abuse crimes in response to the case against former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert.  

Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office says state lawmakers have four similar proposals pending on the matter. The soonest any one could be taken up is next month during lawmakers' brief fall session. 

Jeff Bossert / WILL

Gov. Bruce Rauner is urging Illinois lawmakers to approve a bill that would make it easier for inmates to get state identification cards when they're released to help them get jobs and housing.  

Two Democrats, Rep. Mary Flowers and Sen. Kwame Raoul, joined the Republican governor in calling for the House to pass the bill in November during the Legislature's brief fall session. The Senate has already approved the bill.  

Currently, inmates receive a temporary ID when they're released and must pay $20 for a permanent one within 30 days.

Group of 25 sits in a circle on the south side of downtown Bloomington courthouse.
Colleen Reynolds / WGLT

Tears flowed around a Black Lives Matter talking circle in downtown Bloomington Wednesday night as some 25 residents, most of them white, gathered in response to the most recent fatal police shootings of black men --  Keith Scott, a father of seven in Charlotte and Terrance Crutcher in Tulsa.

Ralph Weisheit

State Police are investigating past Coliseum operations in Bloomington.

A city news release indicated concerns arose several months ago involving the previous operator and the city brought in state police at that time.

Bloomington Police Department

Bloomington police say three armed robbers invaded a home on the southeast side of town Wednesday evening.

Officers say the victims told investigators the robbers wore masks and had guns.

Creative Commons / Flickr

The Illinois Department of Corrections has agreed to pay $450,000 to a man who says prison officials punished and humiliated him after he reported his cellmate raped him.

The man's attorneys announced the settlement of his federal lawsuit today.

He was imprisoned for eight months for a minor drug offense, and was housed in a cell at the Logan Correctional Center in Lincoln with a gang member serving 22 years for armed robbery.

Daniel X. O'Neil / Flickr

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has filed a lawsuit against a Phoenix-based pharmaceutical company for alleged deceptive marketing of an opioid drug meant for cancer patients.  

Creative Commons

A pedestrian has died after being hit by a vehicle in Normal.  The crash occurred around 9:30 a.m. at the intersection of Vernon Avenue and Grandview.

Normal Police and Fire Departments found the pedestrian pinned under the vehicle. McLean County Coroner Kathleen Davis has identified the victim as 74-year old Lanny Lobdell of Normal. Davis says Lobdell died from multiple blunt injuries to the chest after being pinned. He was initially taken to Advocate BroMenn Medical Center where he later died.

Miss_millions / Creative Commons

Illinois prisons officials say six employees who were assaulted by five inmates have been released from the hospital.

Illinois Department of Corrections spokeswoman Nicole Wilson says the workers suffered non-life threatening injuries in the incident yesterday at Pontiac Correctional Center.