Illinois

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Mom's Deathbed Words Read to Daughter's Killer in Court

Timothy Jones sentenced to 90 years for murder of Charinez Jefferson

(Newser) - On Monday, a judge sentenced Chicagoan Timothy Jones, 23, to 90 years in prison for the 2011 death of a pregnant 17-year-old. But other sentences from that day were just as impactful: those of victim Charinez Jefferson's mother, Debbie Jefferson, who lost her life to bone cancer in February... More »

Single Mom Thrown in Jail for Overgrown Lawn

Ebony Conner's 5 kids waited at their Illinois home while she cleared things up

(Newser) - An Illinois woman with five kids was arrested July 7 and briefly thrown in jail for an offense that the town of Cahokia obviously feels strongly about: not mowing her lawn, the Week reports. Single mom Ebony Conner tells KMOV she was verbally warned by a municipal code-enforcement officer back... More »

More Than 2K People Have Been Shot in Chicago This Year

New strategies have failed to stem bloodshed

(Newser) - It's only halfway through the year and there have already been more than 2,000 shooting victims in Chicago, far more than recorded in the city this time last year—and far more casualties than the US suffered in the Gulf War. The milestone was passed over the Fourth... More »

Man's Flag Burning Fires Up Internet, Gets Him Arrested

But it wasn't Bryton Mellott's free-speech exercise alone that brought the heat

(Newser) - In almost 30 years, the Urbana Police Department hasn't had to enforce a flag desecration statute on the books, but that changed Monday with the arrest of a 22-year-old Illinois man, Forbes reports. Bryton Mellott posted pictures on Facebook Sunday showing him burning the American flag (only one image... More »

Chicago Man's $245 Pants 'Too Street' for Pizza Place

Antar Jackson says it was a case of racial discrimination

(Newser) - Chicago's Parlor Pizza isn't the kind of place where you'll find crisp white tablecloths and chandeliers. In fact, its patio consists of several wooden picnic tables. Even so, Antar Jackson says he was turned away, apparently because of his $245 pants . In what he claims was a... More »

Where 64 Are Shot, 6 Killed in One Weekend

Chicago neighborhoods torn apart by Memorial Day violence

(Newser) - One long weekend. Sixty-four shootings. Six people dead. That was Memorial Day weekend in Chicago, where the New York Times sent in journalists to report on gun violence over three heart-breaking days. What they found: Little gun control, gangs bent on retaliation, and police so distrusted that most homicides go... More »

HS Students Give Civil War Vets 'Their Identity Back'

Pollution and the elements had rendered 5 gravestones nameless

(Newser) - With more than a century of rain, wind, snow, and pollution conspiring to erase what was once carved into a row of headstones, about the only thing anyone in the tiny north-central Illinois community of Odell knew of the men buried there was that they'd fought in the Civil... More »

Drew Peterson Planned to Fly to Mexico, Join Cartel

He's on trial for murder-for-hire plot

(Newser) - Drew Peterson is on trial again and his chances of leaving prison before his 100th birthday appear to be growing slimmer by the day. Fellow inmate Antonio Smith testified on Tuesday that he secretly recorded the Illinois ex-cop after convincing him that a plan to kill Will County State's... More »

Mom Rented Van, Vanished With 3 Sons for 2 Weeks

They've now been found safe

(Newser) - On May 9, Michalene Melges rented a van in Lake Bluff, Ill., more than 40 miles away from her home in Lake Geneva, Wis. She called her sons' school and asked for the boys to be excused for a vacation May 10 to 13. And then they vanished, with the... More »

Cops: Relative Killed Entire Chicago Family

One victim was stabbed 45 times

(Newser) - "He was distraught, and I thought it was grief," a victims' advocate recalls of the man she comforted following the grisly murders of six family members —four adults and two children—in Chicago in February. That man is now charged in the case. Police say 22-year-old Diego... More »

Sinead O'Connor Found in Chicago 'Burbs: Cops

But her condition isn't revealed

(Newser) - Police in suburban Chicago say Irish singer-songwriter Sinead O'Connor was found safe Monday after officers received a report that she never returned from a Sunday bike ride in the area. Wilmette police spokesman Eric Peterson says O'Connor had been located, "is safe and no longer considered a... More »

Mom Killed Disabled Daughter So She'd Be 'in Heaven With Me'

Bonnie Liltz thought she was dying, was scared what would happen to daughter with CP

(Newser) - An Illinois woman accused of giving her severely disabled adult daughter a fatal dose of meds last year before trying to kill herself stood before a Cook County judge Wednesday, explaining that her love for her daughter was so strong that killing her seemed the most humane thing to do.... More »

'Shooter' at Target Just Unarmed Guy Protesting Store's Bathroom Policy

Police aren't sure why a shooting was reported

(Newser) - Police were called about an "active shooter" at a Bradley, Ill., Target Monday, but when they arrived, all they found was a man freaking out about the retail chain's decision to allow transgender people to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity . Michael L. Merichko, 39, was... More »

Teacher Gets Felony Charge for Lying About Puppy

Bizarre case has her students at a loss

(Newser) - In a bizarre turn of events, an Illinois community college adjunct professor who claimed to have found a puppy inside a pillowcase along the highway is now being charged with a felony, the Chicago Tribune reports. Earlier this month, 38-year-old Hope Sanchez brought the 3-week-old puppy to show her psychology... More »

Video: Bystanders Leave Man to Die in Chicago Street

Family of Marques Gaines suing 7-Eleven

(Newser) - Family members of a 32-year-old attacked by a man and then killed by a cab as he lay unconscious in the street outside a Chicago 7-Eleven on Feb. 7 returned to the scene of the crime Thursday. "The simple reason we're here is that a corporation that keeps... More »

Prince Hospitalized After Emergency Landing in Illinois

The musician has reportedly had the flu for weeks

(Newser) - Musical superstar Prince was rushed to the hospital early Friday morning after his private jet made an emergency landing in Illinois, TMZ reports. The 57-year-old musician had been suffering from the flu for weeks and had canceled two shows earlier this month but performed Thursday night in Atlanta despite still... More »

Man Convicted in 59-Year-Old Kidnapping and Murder Set Free

His conviction was vacated, and a new trial will be held

(Newser) - A man convicted four years ago in the oldest cold case ever tried was freed Friday after an Illinois judge vacated his conviction and subsequent life sentence, CNN reports. According to CBS News , 76-year-old Jack McCullough was convicted of kidnapping a 7-year-old girl, choking her, and stabbing her to death... More »

Elderly Man Films Tornado That Kills His Wife, Neighbor

Clem Schultz, 85, says his back was contorted like a question mark

(Newser) - The footage is chilling, especially knowing that the fast-approaching tornado in Fairdale, Ill., is headed straight for the elderly man filming it, and that it is on the verge of killing his wife and their neighbor. Yet Clarence "Clem" Schultz, 85, who'd gone upstairs to get two lanterns,... More »

Lawmaker's Daughter 'Stapled Opponent's Face'

She's been charged over alleged Chicago assault

(Newser) - The Chicago way? The daughter of an Illinois state lawmaker faces three felony counts of aggravated battery over an alleged assault on a rival that involved a bottle and a staple gun, the Chicago Tribune reports. Robert Zwolinski says that earlier this month, he confronted Jessica Soto, daughter of Democratic... More »

X-Rays End the Mystery of the Tully Monster

No, it's not a tiny version of the Loch Ness Monster

(Newser) - It's been more than half a century since Francis Tully found the monster that has since defied classification. Now, scientists say they know where the prehistoric oddball that lived some 308 million years ago fits on the Tree of Life: "The Tully monster is a vertebrate," according... More »

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