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Archive for February 15th, 2012

Police chief and other investigators take the stand in Mackowiak trial

Posted by wlpo on February 15, 2012

Day seven of testimony in the Keith Mackoiwak murder trial is focusing on hard evidence.

Seneca Police Chief Ray Meglan testified Wednesday that on July 17th he went to Mt. Calvary Cemetery and found a black leather glove that was discovered the day before by his wife and daughters who were out walking.  Prosecutors think its one of the gloves Mackowiak used to murder Al and Catherine Twardowski.  Investigator Mark Greene testified he found the other black glove in a garbage bag that a woman had in Ottawa.  He didn’t explain why the bag was in Ottawa.

Fellow La Salle County investigator William Crouch then testified about watching an interview July 16th where Mackowiak said where to find a hammer plus the I.D., wallet and shirt of Al Twardowski.  Crouch and other investigators say they found all those things where Mackowiak said they would be.

Testimony from an Illinois State Police Crime Scene Investigator was also heard.

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Blagojevich hopes to enter prison with ‘dignity’

Posted by wlpo on February 15, 2012

CHICAGO (AP) – A lawyer for Rod Blagojevich says he hopes to walk through the gates of whatever prison he’ll report to next month without facing a gauntlet of cameras.

The former Illinois governor asked to go to a Colorado prison to start serving his 14-year sentence for corruption, and a judge made that recommendation.

But attorney Carolyn Gurland insisted Wednesday Blagojevich could still end up at a prison elsewhere. U.S. prison authorities make the final call and they haven’t made a public announcement.

Gurland adds she’d rather the public not find out where Blagojevich is until he’s behind bars. She says he’s told her he wants to surrender “with dignity” and not surrounded by reporters.

A camera-shy Blagojevich would be a sharp departure from the man who adored the limelight as governor.

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Streator man accused of jumping onto a woman’s car while violating an order of protection

Posted by wlpo on February 15, 2012

What do you do when somebody won’t leave you alone?  Police say that driving away wasn’t enough to protect a woman in Streator from a man that wouldn’t leave her alone.

Kevin Lewis Jr. of Streator is accused of following a woman in his car, running into her car when she wouldn’t stop and ultimately jumping on to the hood of her car.

Police say it happened late Monday night.  Lewis was arrested for violating on order of protection and was taken to the La Salle County Jail.

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Controversy Surrounding Bureau County Coroner

Posted by wlpo on February 15, 2012

Despite a family’s claim, the Bureau County Board says County Coroner Janice Wamhoff deserves to keep her job.

According to the NewsTribune, the family of Leslie Holmes and their lawyer pleaded to the board Tuesday to remove Wamhoff from office because she should’ve excused herself from handling their daughter’s death case because she was dating Wamhoff’s son.  They also complained about the amount of time that passed before Wamhoff told them about their daughter’s death.

Law Committee Chairman Bob McCook said Wamhoff acted properly and their decision was unanimous to not take any action.  State’s Attorney Pat Herrmann also said the board doesn’t have legal authority to take any action.

When the voice vote was made, a few board members did oppose not taking action against Wamhoff.

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Illinois Governor Not Sure About Gay Marriage

Posted by wlpo on February 15, 2012

Gov. Pat Quinn says he doesn’t know if he would support legislation that would give same sex couples the same rights as heterosexual couples.

The Democrat supported same sex civil unions, which became legal last summer. However, he says he wants to study issues surrounding same-sex marriage before he makes a decision. The “Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act” was introduced in the Illinois House earlier this month. It would eliminate the part of state law that prohibits gay marriages and offer same sex couples the rights currently available exclusively to heterosexual couples.

The bill also says religious groups will be free to decide which marriages they will perform.

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Good News For Putnam County Teen Involved In Fiery Crash

Posted by wlpo on February 15, 2012

Nearly two full months after a crash, a teenager from Granville is finally home from the hospital.

Katlyn Casford was released yesterday from St. Francis Medical Center in Peoria.  She was flown there December 30th after losing control of her car on Route 26 at the Coffee Creek Bridge in Putnam County.  She hit a guardrail and her car caught fire.

Friends and family hosted a benefit this past in Granville to raise money for medical expenses.

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Week Two Of Mackowiak Trial Underway

Posted by wlpo on February 15, 2012

DNA evidence took center stage during the Keith Mackowiak murder trial.

Jessica York, a forensics analyst from Ohio state testified that bloody gloves found in a fast food bag had Al Twardowski’s and Mackowiak’s DNA on them.  Mackowiak told police where to find the gloves during an interrogation interview.  Prosecutors think Mackowiak used the gloves to kill Al and Catherine Twardowski.

Later on yesterday, Mackowiak friend Arlow Hougas of Seneca told the jury Mackowiak came to a drinking party before the murders and asked for tools and dark clothes.  He said he didn’t ask why and that it was normal for him to lend friends clothes.

Hougas then testified that Mackowiak came back the day the Twardowski bodies were found and asked to wash those clothes, saying he had blood on his socks.  A few others backed Hougas about the laundry episode.

Testimony resumes this morning in Ottawa.

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