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Archive for September 24th, 2010

Wife Of Former La Salle County State’s Attorney Headed To Prison

Posted by wlpo on September 24, 2010

42 year old Terri James of Ottawa was sentenced to 11 years in prison Friday afternoon after pleading guilty to residential arson and theft.

James is the wife of former La Salle County State’s Attorney Mike James.  He was in the audience to see his wife be given 11 years each for the two charges but made eligible to serve the sentences concurrently.

James admitted to stealing well over 100 thousand dollars while serving as treasurer for the First Congregational Church in Ottawa.  During her tearful apology, James said she thought the stealing was “going to be a one time emergency action”.

She also admits to setting ablaze the southside home of Carol Kozlowski and Vicki Smith.  Prosecutor Greg Sticka says James set the fire to try and distract the women from carrying out an audit of funds that James had stolen from the church dating back to 2004.  James was ordered to pay over 137 thousand dollars restitution to the First Congregation Church.  She’s obligated to pay that amount within five years of getting out of prison.

James is eligible for good behavior, or day-for-day credit in prison.  Coupled with about a half year already spent in jail, she could be released in five to six years.

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Area Moose Lodge Burglarized

Posted by wlpo on September 24, 2010

The Mendota Moose Lodge is the victim of a thief.

Mendota Police say that a suspect or suspects broke into the lodge on East 12th Street at some point Wednesday.  They’re accused of stealing an undisclosed amount of money from the lodge.

If you have information on the burglary, call Mendota Crime Stoppers.  You could get a reward of up to a thousand dollars.

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Still No Name For Body Found Near Wenona

Posted by wlpo on September 24, 2010

The name of the woman found dead in a cornfield near Wenona still isn’t being released.

A Marshall County deputy said this morning they’re still awaiting word from the county coroner.  The body was found Wednesday afternoon in a cornfield and investigators believe it’s a middle-aged woman but the body is badly decomposed and could’ve been lying in the crops since spring.

Found near the woman was a bag of personal items and cash.  A wallet was also reportedly found.

Early indications are that the woman is from out of state.

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Convicted La Salle Robber Adds Burglary To His Wrap Sheet

Posted by wlpo on September 24, 2010

A man from La Salle already doing time in La Salle County has been also given prison time in Bureau County.

27 year old Chawn Vasquez has been sentenced to nine years in prison after pleading guilty earlier this month to two counts of burglary.  He will serve the sentence at the same time he serves time for La Salle County convictions of residential burglary and forgery.

Vasquez admitted to breaking into a La Salle man’s filing cabinet last May and stealing checks.  Just over a week later, he tried cashing stolen checks at businesses in both La Salle and Spring Valley.

He was released from prison before for robbery.

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Pit Bull Lovers Unite

Posted by wlpo on September 24, 2010

Positive and pit bulls are rarely used in the same sentence.  But there’s an event tomorrow in Marseilles called “Pit Bull Positive”.

Pit bull owners and others are invited to a cookout, auction and bags tournament at Illini State Park starting at noon.  Tickets are 10 dollars a person or 15 dollars per couple and proceeds will go to Dan Meagher of Ottawa.  Meagher adopts pit bulls from IVAR.  He currently has six of the dogs at his home.

Meagher says being covered in tattoos, he’s always related to pit bulls in that they’re judged by their appearance.  He is on the side of pit bull attacks being caused by a reckless owner, not because of the breed of dog.

Despite his opinion, organizers of tomorrow’s cookout aren’t allowing pit bulls on site.

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Former State’s Attorney’s Wife Sentenced Today

Posted by wlpo on September 24, 2010

A woman from Ottawa who has pled guilty to stealing from a church she worked at will be sentenced today.

Judge H. Chris Ryan will sentence 42-year old Terri James this afternoon at one o’clock.  James pled guilty to residential arson and theft last month.  In exchange, an attempted arson charged was dropped.  Prosecutors agreed to cap their sentence request at 14 years.

James was arrested in March after a fire broke out at a home on Catherine Street in Ottawa.  She was also accused of trying to set fire to an empty building on Leland Street.  Prosecutors think she was trying to destroy evidence showing that she stole over 100,000 thousand dollars from the First Congregational United Church of Christ in Ottawa where she was a secretary.

James is married to former La Salle County State’s Attorney Mike James.

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Area Teen’s Death Is Under Investigation

Posted by wlpo on September 24, 2010

The death of a Streator teenager is under investigation.

18 year old Hannah Harcar was pronounced dead in the St. Mary’s Hospital emergency room Thursday.  The La Salle County Coroner’s office is awaiting autopsy and toxicology results.

The death is under investigation by the coroner and Streator Police Department.

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