Crime

COURTESY / MCLEAN COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE

A central Illinois man pleaded guilty Monday for his role in the 2017 murder of his friend’s mother whose bloodied body was found near the Sugar Grove Nature Center.

Peoria Public Radio

A person said they were robbed at gunpoint near Bradley University late Monday evening and forced to drive the robber to South Peoria. 

The Bradley University Police Department said a man in his 20s approached the victim near Bradley and Duryea around 10 p.m. The man pulled a handgun, demanded the victim's property, and made the victim drive him to Peoria's South Side. 

The suspect was last seen at Madison Park Terrace and Wiswall. The victim was uninjured. 

The suspect was 5'3" and wearing a red shirt and black pants. 

An investigation is continuing. 

Killer Of Yingying Zhang Sentenced To Life In Prison

Jul 19, 2019
Tanya Koonce / Illinois Public Media

The man convicted of murdering University of Illinois visiting scholar Yingying Zhang will spend the rest of his life in federal prison “without release”. That was the sentence imposed by U.S. District Judge Jim Shadid Thursday, after a jury spent about nine hours deliberating before determining they could not reach a unanimous verdict on the death penalty for Brendt Christensen.

Macon County Jail

The jury is deliberating on the question of sentencing for the man convicted of the 2017 kidnapping and murder of University of Illinois visiting scholar Yingying Zhang. Jurors received Brendt Christensen’s capital case about 1:40 p.m. Wednesday afternoon.

Creative Commons

Peoria police are investigating the year’s 14th homicide.

Tanya Koonce / Illinois Public Media

The sentencing phase of Brendt Christensen’s federal death penalty trial will go to the jury Wednesday. There’s only one question the jury at the federal courthouse in Peoria needs to answer, and that’s whether Christensen will receive the death penalty or life in prison, for the 2017 kidnapping murder of University of Illinois visiting scholar Yingying Zhang.

Tanya Koonce / Illinois Public Media

Brendt Christensen’s mother and sister say they still love him, even after learning he kidnapped and murdered U of I visiting scholar Yingying Zhang in 2017. Both family members testified Monday in the sentencing phase of Christensen’s federal trial in Peoria.

Creative Commons

A Bradley University sophomore and his brother both were killed Friday in what police believe was a murder-suicide committed by their mother.

Tanya Koonce / Illinois Public Media

The sentencing phase of the Brendt Christensen trial enters its fifth day Friday. Federal public defenders called eight witnesses Thursday in their effort to save him from the death penalty.

Local police will permanently have to report data on the race of people they pull over or search under a new law signed by Governor J.B. Pritzker.

Tanya Koonce / Illinois Public Media

The penalty phase of the trial of the man convicted of kidnapping and killing a University of Illinois visiting scholar is underway.

Prosecutors began making their case Monday that Brendt Christensen should be put to death for causing the death of Chinese scholar Yingying Zhang.

AP Photo/Brynn Anderson

A bill currently awaiting Governor J.B. Pritzker’s signature would close a loophole in state law that allows some massage parlors to operate without state licensing. 

A judge has refused to lower bail for a teen charged with firing shots at an Illinois high school as seniors met for graduation rehearsal.

Gov. Bruce Rauner's proposal to reinstate the death penalty for certain violent crimes and other changes he made to gun legislation will get a House hearing. 

Man Killed in Peoria's First Homicide of 2018

Jan 11, 2018

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) - A Peoria man convicted of beating and severely burning  a 2-year-old girl by putting her into a scalding hot shower to punish her has been sentenced to 50 years in prison. 

One of the defense attorneys for former Governor Rod Blagojevich is running for Illinois attorney general.

July was another dangerous month in Chicago, with 74 homicides reported.

Peoria County Jail Records

A Peoria man, with a nearly decade long criminal history of violence against women and children, is being charged in the murder of his girlfriend.

Peoria County Man Sentenced for Possessing Child Porn

Jun 15, 2017
Peoria County Jail Records

A Peoria County man has been sentenced to 20 years in federal prison for receiving and possessing child pornography.

On Tuesday, a US District Judge ordered that 61-year-old Richard L Sills, of Mapleton, remain on supervised release for another 10 years, following his release from incarceration.

 

A news release from the Justice Department says a forensic examination of Sills’ home and computer turned up more than a thousand images and 73 videos of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

Creative Commons

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Police in Springfield have reported a rising number of copper thefts with rising temperatures. 

Illinois senators have overwhelmingly approved a plan to make it harder for authorities to confiscate property from innocent owners.
 
The Senate endorsed the measure 56-0 Wednesday. It'll head to the House.
 
The plan would place the burden of proof on law enforcement when seizing a person's property in connection with a suspected crime. Current law allows authorities to confiscate property without even charging an owner for participating in illegal activity. The practice has been sharply criticized.
 

CHICAGO (AP) - A nonprofit organization says people living in poverty in Illinois are more likely to become violent crime victims than higher wage earners whether they live in cities, suburbs or rural areas. However, geographic disparities persist. 

Michael Puente / Periscope

Some top law enforcement officials in Chicago are weighing in on what they would want the federal government to do to quell the violence.

At a forum prior to Trump’s speech, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson says he would welcome federal money for mental health programs and economic development. Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart says if funds are reduced for mental health programs, that would hurt efforts to stem the violence. In his speech to a joint session of Congress, President Trump said more than 4-thousand people were shot in Chicago last year.

Tony Webster / Flickr/Creative Commons

Peoria saw its first homicide of the new year Monday night.

The name of the deceased male has yet to be identified. The Peoria Police Department says officers responded to reports of a shooting near the 1800 block of North Sheridan Avenue. 

The PPD says when officers arrived around 8:00 pm, they found the male victim outside of a residence with an apparent gunshot wound. 

Children Often Victims of Chicago Violence

Jan 3, 2017
infinity7664 / Flickr

Chicago’s violent year was especially dangerous for the city’s children. Dozens of young kids were shot in 2016 before reaching high school age. Police data show that last year, there were 41 shootings that killed or wounded children younger than 14. That’s way more than any time in the last 10 years. And its more than double the number of child victims in 2015. Illinois Public Radio’s Patrick Smith reports.

Chris Yarzab / Wikimedia Commons

CHICAGO (AP) - The number of arrests in Chicago fell approximately 28 percent this year.The number is on target to be the lowest since at least 2001.

crimemuseum.org

A new survey argues criminals should get rehabilitation rather than punishment. The recommendation comes straight from crime victims themselves.

The study says one in three Illinoisans have been a victim of crime in the last decade. More likely to be victimized are people who are younger and lower-income, as well as blacks, Latinos and residents of Chicago.

Lenore Anderson is president of the Alliance for Safety and Justice, which commissioned the survey. She says contrary to the conventional wisdom, a majority of victims do not support long prison sentences.

Peoria County Jail Records

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) - A Peoria County judge has sentenced a 21-year-old man to 43 years in prison for the death of his 4-month-old son in March.

Marcus Shockley Jr. of Peoria pleaded guilty in the death of Marcus Shockley III and was sentenced Wednesday. Prosecutors say Shockley threw the baby on a bed, slapped the child and bit him on the shoulder. The baby was declared brain dead and died March 10. Doctors said the baby was bruised and suffered brain swelling and bleeding.

 The child's mother, 20-year-old Shanterryona A. Anderson, is serving a 30-month prison sentence after pleading guilty to endangering the life or welfare of a child.

Woodford County Jail

EUREKA, Ill. (AP) - A Bloomington high school teacher has been charged with first-degree murder in her husband's stabbing death.

Bond is $1 million for 30-year-old Sarah Mellor of Bloomington, who teaches Spanish at Bloomington High School. Prosecutors say 31-year-old Mark Mellor of Bloomington was stabbed late Saturday during an argument with his wife at a private campsite in rural Woodford County. Sarah Mellor remains jailed at the Woodford County jail in Eureka.

 Prosecutors say relatives drove Mark Mellor from the campsite to a hospital where he was pronounced dead at 12:15 a.m. Sunday. The McLean County coroner said preliminary autopsy results found he died from a stab wound to the chest.

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