McHenry Il. man will serve out 16 years for “brutal” machete attack: judge rules he is not allowed to withdraw guilty plea

A McHenry County Il. judge denied a lawyer’s motion Friday asking to allow the withdraw of a guilty plea for a man currently serving 16 years in prison for his part in a “brutal” machete attack in 2011.

The response comes about a month after  a new lawyer for Armando Ferral-Mujica argued that the only reason his client pled guilty about three years ago to his part in the attack was because he was told after a conference between his lawyer and the judge he’d be sentenced to between eight and 12 years in prison.

Following the ruling, Ferral-Mujica’s attorney Henry Sugden said  he was “disappointed.” He said the denial of the motion takes from the purpose of a pre-trial conference.

Ferral-Mujica lived in McHenry at the time he and his brother Orlando Ferral-Mujica admitted they attacked Jesus Agaton, shooting him in the chest and “mutilating” him on the neck and head with a machete.

Agaton was attacked by the brothers at a McHenry apartment building. Authorities said Armando shot the victim, and Orlando “mutilated” him with a machete.

An attorney for Orlando Ferral-Mujica said in 2014 the attack stemmed from a family feud that started in their native Mexico. The victim and the brothers are distant cousins, the lawyer said.

Nearly three years into his prison sentence, Armando Ferral-Mujica was back in court with Sugden on a post-conviction petition.

Sugden requested the sentence be reduced or his guilty plea be withdrawn and a trial date be set.

Sugden argued that when Ferral-Mujica pleaded guilty in December of 2012 he did so only because he was told by his defense attorney Dan Hofmann – after a conference with Judge Gordon Graham and Assistant State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally – he’d be sentenced to between 8 and 12 years.

But a few months later, the now retired Graham sentenced him to 16.

With an interpreter at his side, Ferral-Mujica took the stand Wednesday and said he would not have pleaded guilty had he known the judge was going to sentence him to 16 years. He said he knew immediately as sheriff’s deputies took him out of the courtroom that he got more years than he was initially told.

Shortly after Hofmann filed for a post-conviction petition.

Sugden argued that Ferral-Mujica,was confused at the time of his initial sentencing. Had he known he would receive more than 12 years, “he never would have pleaded guilty to a blind plea.”

Hofmann took the stand Wednesday and said after leaving the conference it was his “perception” that Graham would sentence him between 8 and 12.

Kenneally also took the stand Wednesday and said he would have never agreed to such a sentencing range.

Assistant State’s Attorney Robert Zalud countered the defense saying there is no proof Ferral-Mujica didn’t understand his plea deal at the time nor does he not understand what is happening in court now.

At his 2013 sentencing “he had proper admonition, he had an interpreter.”

He said that in exchange for his guilty plea to aggravate battery with a fire arm, numerous more serious charges were dropped including two counts of attempted murder and aggravated battery with a machete.

In light of the lengthy sentence he could have received – up to 30 years in prison- 16 years for such a “brutal crime” is “more than reasonable, if not light.”

To which Sugden quickly responded “It’s not a good deal if he’d gone to trial and been found not guilty.”

Zalud said the facts of the crime have not changed and there is no “legal basis to grant a withdrawal or reduction.”

Months after Ferral-Mujica’s sentencing, his older brother Orlando Ferral-Mujica pleaded guilty to a blind plea. He was sentenced by Judge Sharon Prather to 16 years in prison.

Mystery on Johnsburg Road: How it all Began

It was 2002, five days before Christmas.

My 13 siblings were all in different stages of their lives, some living on their own and some with their own spouses and kids. All were preparing to make the trek home to Johnsburg Il. for our big Irish Catholic family Christmas feast.

I still lived at home with my mom and dad, and a couple of the younger siblings in our small rural town located near the Wisconsin border. I grew up surrounded by lots of family, and cool wooded areas and rivers to explore.

I love my big family and they love me.

I was excited for Christmas. It was my favorite holiday. I loved helping to hang lights and decorate the tree. Mom already had a wrapped present for me under the tree.

Dec. 20, 2002 was the last day of school before Christmas break. It was a Friday and although I didn’t have to work that day, at about 6:30 p.m. I left my big white farmhouse style home where I lived for the last -and only- 17 years of my life.

I didn’t walk far. I just crossed the road to the grocery store. The store I grew up seeing everyday outside our family’s living room window. I’d worked there as a stock boy. I loved that job. Many of my siblings also worked there over the years.

The grocery store was owned by another large, well-known family from the area.

Our families were close — at one time.

I passed my older brother Eddie on my way into the store as he was going out to the parking lot to gather grocery carts.

He never saw me again.

A few employees working that night said they saw me in the store. But no one ever said they saw me outside the store again after that night.

My blood was found pooled in a produce cooler and spattered on boxes and walls leading to a back door exit. My blood also was found on boxes in an outside dumpster.

My blood.

But I was no where to be found.

All the searching. All the praying. All the tears and candlelight vigils. All the rumors, accusations, finger pointing and courtroom dramas.

I have never been found.

(Watch an update to the latest twist on ABC 2020 9 p.m CT Saturday Jan. 2)

A new Illinois horse barn has risen from the ashes and hearts are on the mend

horsesA year after fire ripped through the Valley View Acres stables killing dozens of beloved horses, a new barn has risen from the ashes and new horses are filling the stalls.

“It was hard losing 32 of my best friends,” said Laura Kalivoda of Crystal Lake who has ridden horses at the stables near Woodstock Illinois since she was a child and today gives riding lessons there. “That was the worst thing that had ever happened in my life.”

Kalivoda, 20, knew and loved each horse that perished on that rainy, chilly night of Nov. 22, 2014.

As she recently stood in the new barn, her voice often drowned out by the neighs of feisty horses nearby, she recalled the pain in explaining to many young riders that their favorite horses had died.

That pain was compounded as she worked with students, some as young as 5, learn to ride the new horses.

It was emotional, she explained, because she often referred to a horse who had died as she’d help a student adapt to a new horse. There were moments when the child would pause and a somber look would wash across their face, as if reliving the moment they learned their horse had died.

But the year since has brought the horse community together and together all are ready to ride forward.

Kalivoda is just one of many from the horse community -locally and nationally- who rallied around owners, Amber and Tyson Bauman.

On a recent rainy, chili night, students were back in the new barn quietly brushing horses prepping them to go out into the brightly lit arena to practice their trots and jumps. Their parents gathered in the not quite finished viewing area. Mittens, the Barn’s 17-year-old cat, was once again welcoming the riders and their parents back to the barn.

In the weeks since the new horses moved in and lessons have commenced, Amber Bauman said there have been many firsts. The first jump. The first fall.

“We celebrate those things,” Bauman said as she watched students riding in the arena.

After the tragic fire, which the Baumans refer to as “the barn” many people, those familiar to them and strangers from across the country, raced to their rescue donating horses, tack and money to rebuild.

Bauman said there is much heartache that lingers, but says the time for tears is over.

The tragedy has taught her a lot about life and people.

“You find out who your real friends are,” she said. “There are a lot of wonderful people out there.”

She said many “angels” have logged hundreds of hours by her side laying radiant floor heating, insulation, and plumbing, staining wood, building horse jumps, digging trenches and shoveling gravel.

Their only payment – burgers, sodas and waters.

She said at times horses would just “show up” in her driveway or supplies would appear on her front porch.

Few students left. Many said the best way to deal with the tragedy was to stick together, do the work and to just keep riding.

“It’s family, you’ve got to stick together,” said Amber’s cousin Quentin Britton, as he watched his 11-year-old daughter Isabel riding in the arena. “Don’t let anything get in your way. You gotta rebuild. Keep going.”

Bauman, who also works as a substitute teacher and whose husband Tyson is deputy police chief in nearby Harvard, remained busy all year negotiating with insurance, finding new horses for her students to rid and teaching lessons six days a week in a rented facility in Crystal Lake.

Lessons were taught and riding and jumping competitions were won on the backs of donated horses that Bauman and her students had to work hard to break in.

Bauman said often times at various competitions people she’d never met, but who knew of her because of the fire, would approach her and they’d “hug and cry like you had known them your whole life.”

Her daughter Alexis, 12, has had opportunity to train with Charles Moorcroft, influential rider from Florida who became aware of the family after the fire. Without being solicited, he sent Alexis Sebastian, one of his prized horses, to practice on.

Alexis’ favorite pony Ella Enchanted died in the fire. Today, she has a new favorite, Just Juliet, whom as she writes on a piece of paper hanging outside her stall “just is a pretty one.”

Juliet is a full sister to Hunter, a beloved pony who had died in the fire. Bauman said she “just wanted her” and a Go Fund Me account paid for her to be brought to the barn from Pennsylvania.

Authorities have deemed the fire that leveled the 150-year-old barn as “undetermined.”

The new stables and arena cost $260,000. The facility is equipped with heated stalls that include automatic waterers. The building has been constructed with fireproof materials, sprinkler system, smoke and fire detectors. Each stall has its own exterior door and hay is kept in a separate building away from the horses.

“You go through one tragedy, you think of everything,” said Amber’s father Paul Allen.

Bauman said she received just $5,000 from insurance for loss of business. The horses were not covered by insurance. She has had to take out a $109,000 loan to help with the costs to rebuild. But it’s still not enough.

Crystal Lake Deputy Fire Chief Christopher Olsen confirmed the fire was deemed “undetermined.”

“We don’t know exactly what caused it,” Olsen said.

He said though there is no way of knowing for sure what caused this fire, possible reasons for such barn fires could be related to an electrical malfunction or faulty heating equipment. One thing he knows for sure is the fire was not purposely set by anyone.

He also said, though it varies in different areas and is a case by case scenario, in McHenry County there are no requirements for sprinkler systems or fire alarms in this agriculture type of building. He also said there is no requirement for Bauman’s business to be regularly monitored or inspected by authorities.

Jennifer Austin, mom of 13-year-old Anna, who lost a favorite horse, London, in the fire said being back in the new arena is “Great.”

“It’s just light and bright and cheerful and the horses seem happy… It’s just gorgeous,” she said as her daughter readied for her lesson.

Austin said her daughter who takes lessons weekly was upset by the loss but her best remedy was to continue riding.

“Carry on,” Austin said. “You work hard and don’t give up and continue to make your dreams come true.”

Bauman said there are no tears anymore. “It’s time to move forward,” she said.
There is more work to be done, lessons to be given and competitions to be won.

Now a year after suffering the loss of 32 ”family members,” she said she looks to the future and anticipates “being super successful in the show ring locally and nationally” and “Honestly, just enjoying the ride on this roller coaster called life.”

McHenry County Sheriff’s Deputy Dwight Maness Funeral: “We will take it from here”

McHenry County Sheriff Deputy Dwight Maness was buried Saturday with the honors and ceremony befitting a law enforcement officer.

In somber silence, with lights flashing, more than a hundred McHenry County squad cars led the procession to the cemetery. Hundreds more vehicles carrying family and friends followed over more than 30 miles of Woodstock and McHenry roads lined with thousands of mourners holding signs and flags.

And behind the hearse carrying her husband’s body rode Sue Maness on her Harley Davidson.

“It was a very tough day, very emotional,” said Winthrop Police Officer Ron Page. He said Maness would have been happy with his wife’s decision to ride her motorcycle. “I’m not surprised, that’s what he would have wanted.”

Maness died unexpectedly Monday of a blood clot while he was recuperating from gunshot wounds suffered while on duty last October. He was shot in the back and the leg responding to a possible domestic disturbance. The gunman was convicted of attempted murder and was sentenced to 135 years in prison. Deputy Eric Luna, who was on that fateful call in October, on Saturday drove Maness’s squad car in the procession.

Earlier Saturday, mourners gathered for the visitation at Woodstock North High School.

Fred Spitzer, a retired Woodstock police officer who lives nearby, pushed his 1-year-old granddaughter in a stroller. Spitzer knew Maness and last saw him at a fundraiser in his honor last year. He was shocked to hear of his death.

“This makes me sick. … Makes me heartbroken,” he said.

Joe Alger of Crystal Lake stood at the parking lot entrance holding an American flag and saluting as cars entered. Alger, a member of the Warriors Watch Riders, did not know Maness but said he was there to honor the deputy as a war veteran and a police officer. He said this is important “particularly now when they are under attack more than ever.”

Todd and Jan Hoover did not know Maness, but Jan Hoover’s father was a police officer in Nebraska and the couple felt it was important to pay their respects to the fallen officer.

“Another loss,” said Todd Hoover. “In simplest terms, this is just awful.”

He said these shootings are done by “people who are deranged … who do not understand the magnitude of what they cause and the heartbreak they cause to the family and the community at large.”

After the private service for family and public safety officials, the funeral procession, which included police from throughout Illinois and Wisconsin, drove to McHenry County Memorial Park Cemetery. A sea of blue police uniforms gathered around the casket. Bag pipes rang through the chilly air. A 21-gun salute sounded followed by two helicopters flying overhead.

Deputy Sheriff Joseph Tarnowski, who drove from Madison, said the day was “bittersweet.”

“It feels good honoring the officer but it was really sad to see how it affects everyone, to see how it affects his family,” he said. Tarnowski did not know Maness but said law enforcement is a “brotherhood.”

Page, the Winthrop officer, said he met Maness at the hospital after he was shot. He said he knew all too well what it was like. In 1986, as a McHenry County deputy, he was shot in the neck. Page called the day’s services “very heart wrenching.”

In a recent interview with the Tribune, Maness said he had undergone multiple surgeries over the past 11 months but was making good strides in his recovery and looked forward to returning to work. Maness lamented on the recent spate of shootings of law enforcement officials around the country, saying he was bothered by “the lack of respect … society seems to have for police officers.”

Maness died two weeks after the interview.

At the cemetery as the sun dipped behind a nearby tree line a haunting “529” call recording was played marking the end of an officer’s life:

“All units be advised 529 Deputy Maness is not responding … Your spirit and strength will live on through your family, both blood and blue … Thank you for your service and ultimate sacrifice. Rest in peace brother, we will take it from here.”


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Algonquin man charged with murdering parents to face a jury this month

A McHenry County judge Wednesday denied the dismissal of a grand jury indictment against a former Algonquin man set to stand trial later this month for the 2006 murders of his parents.

Angelo Mourelatos, public defender representing Michael Romano, 56, argued that a murder indictment against his client should be dismissed because prosecutors provided a grand jury with “false or misleading” evidence on Jan. 8, 2014 which led to an indictment charging Romano for the murders of his father Nick Romano, 71, and his stepmother Gloria, 65.

In her ruling Wednesday, Judge Sharon Prather explained that the court is “limited in its ability to dismiss an indictment.” She said that the issues the defense raised did not prove the grand jury had been deliberately misled and that she did not find that Romano’s “due process” had been violated.

Romano told police he found his parents shot to death in their home located in the unincorporated Crystal Lake neighborhood of Killarney Acres at about 3 a.m. Nov. 20, 2006, authorities have said.

Romano said that he had gone to check on his parents that morning because he could not reach them by phone.

Romano cooperated with police in the days following the murders but later moved to Las Vegas where in early January 2014 he was arrested, then extradited to McHenry County jail where he has remained on $3 million bond.

Mourelatos argued that Romano was indicted only after the grand jury had been “misled” by false or inaccurate details regarding time of death, Romano’s presence on surveillance videos, and FBI laboratory ballistic results.

In particular, the defense took issue with testimony of McHenry County Sheriff’s Detective Thomas Jonites.

The defense argued that Jonites testified the couple was killed between 10:40 a.m. and noon on Nov. 19, 2006, even though the coroner never determined the time of death.

Assistant State’s Atty. Patrick Kenneally responded that Jonites only gave his “opinion” as to time of death based on evidence, therefore was not deliberately misleading, nor was he stating that his suspected time of death was the determination of the coroner’s.

The defense also took issue with the detective’s testimony that Romano was not on surveillance videotapes from two local businesses at 10:30 a.m. the day his parents were killed. In early interviews with police Romano told police he had been at these two locations during that timeframe, which the state alleges was when the couple was murdered.

Mourelatos said that his client can be seen on the videos from both locations at just before and after 11 a.m. still within the couples’ supposed time of death.

“Det. Jonites’s testimony was designed to disprove the alibi of the defendant and to portray defendant as a liar to the Grand Jury,” Mourelatos wrote in the motion. “Det. Jonites’s testimony to the Grand Jury was misleading.”

Prosecutors denied any allegations they misled the grand jury and say it is the opinion of Jonites that Romano is not on those tapes, and that the state maintains “the accuracy” of Jonites’s opinion.

In her ruling, Prather said what is seen on the tapes is a matter of fact to be determined by the trial jury.

Mourelatos also said Jonites stated that bullets found in an ammunition box in the home of friend who authorities say provided bullets to Romano “matched” bullet shell casings found at the murder scene. When in fact, Mourelatos said, that the FBI lab report- available to the state- concluded the bullets “were consistent with the casings found on scene but there is no reliable method to determine if they match.”

“The prosecution emphasized that these “bullets matched exactly” despite the FBI findings in the prosecutions possession,” he wrote.

Kenneally maintained there was no intention to mislead the grand jury.

“The state appropriately and consistently qualified its statements to the Grand Jury by pointing out that the match was only in regard to “observable features” and not that there were some type of scientific testing that established some type of definitive correspondence.”

Prather said the meaning found in a dictionary of “matched” and “consistent” were similar and therefore did not find this testimony to the grand jury false or misleading.

Mourelatos also argued that prosecutors “mischaracterized” two cigarette butts found at the scene and mislead jurors to believe they were both Romanos. One found next to Gloria Romano’s body had no DNA attached to it and one found outside the home had Michael Romano’s DNA. Mourelatos said there is no way of knowing if they both were the same brand. He said the state was “trying to draw the comparison both were Camel and one contained (Romano’s) DNA.” That, he said “was false and misleading.”

The trial is set to begin Sept. 21.

Fox Lake officer’s murder gives two deputies shot and wounded in the line of duty pause

As the manhunt continues for three male suspects who shot and killed a Fox Lake police officer, McHenry County Sheriff’s Deputies wounded by gunfire in the line of duty less than a year ago, say they are deeply saddened and wish they could help.

Dwight Maness, home recovering and preparing for yet another surgery since being shot and seriously wounded by a Holiday Hills man while making a well-being check at his home in 2014, said he feels “helpless.” He wants to go out and help in the manhunt that has drawn hundreds of officers from various agencies, as was the manhunt for Scott Peters, who shot Maness and his partner Deputy Khalia Satkiewicz on Oct. 16, 2014.

That search went on for more than 12 hours before Peters, now serving 135 years in prison for attempted murder, was apprehended. Maness, though after he was shot and was in the hospital coming in and out of consciousness, said seeing watching the manhunt on TV and seeing the helicopters searching for the three subjects who shot and killed Fox Lake Lt. Charles “Joe” Gliniewicz is like reliving his shooting all over again.

“It’s nerve-wracking that they have not found them yet,” Maness said. “All we can do is hope and pray they (are) taken into custody and someone turns them in.”

Noting his attack by Peters just 11 months ago, Maness said cop shootings are “not only out here, but it’s across the nation.” 
And since Peters was sentenced to prison in April, there have been dozens more across the nation.

“That bothers me a lot,” he said. “The lack of respect that society seems to have on police officers … When I was growing up you had that respect for police officers.”

Though Maness and his wife Sue did not know Gliniwiecz they said their hearts are broken over his death and that they will do what ever they can to help his family. “It’s horrible,” Sue Maness said. “My heart totally goes out to the family. I can’t say I know what she is feeling, but it’s pretty close. Yesterday was a really hard day. We were glued to the TV all day. Everything kind of floods back form last year. It was hard.”

McHenry County deputy Khalia Satkiewicz, who was shot and wounded along with Maness while making that well being call in Holiday Hills, had few words today other than she is “heartbroken” over the officer’s death. “We worked with the department a few times,” she said softly in a phone interview. “I did know who he was and I’m very sad. All I can say is my heart really breaks for his family … prayers to his family.”

Satkiewicz said she has another surgery later this month and plans on returning to work full time soon. While home recovering she said she has been “running the kids here and there … just trying to get myself ready to go back to work.”

Her husband Illinois State Trooper Master Sgt. Robert Satkiewicz said he was part of the search efforts in Fox Lake on Tuesday, and he knew Gliniewicz for about ten years.

“He was a good guy, he’ll be sorely missed,” Satkiewicz said. “It does hit home, this is very close for us … with everything happening with Khalia … put a lot into our thoughts.” He stayed at the Fox Lake search for more than 12 hours yesterday, often reflecting that the scene there must have been what it was like when police were searching for the man who shot his wife less than a year earlier.

He said though his place then was at his wife’s hospital bed, he had the urge to be out searching for Peters. He said his two young children, ages 8 and 13, were happy to see him come home at the end of the day yesterday. And this morning as he left, they told him they hoped he catches “the bad guys.”

“My thoughts and prayers obviously go out to the family,” he said. “I hope we can find the suspects and bring some resolve to it. It’s tough, tough to watch a fellow officer (be killed), someone we knew, the next town over. (It) starts to make you wonder a little bit about whats going on.”

Holiday Hills shooter moved to prison for life sentence before family gets to say good bye

The wife of Scott Peters, the Holiday Hills man sentenced Thursday to 135 years in prison, this morning was in tears as she told the judge her husband had been sent away to prison this before she and their daughter could say good bye.

Lisa Peters cried as she stood before Judge Sharon Prather holding the paperwork in her hand that the judge had signed yesterday at the close of Peters’ sentencing. The pink copy court order stated that Peters would be allowed one contact visit with his wife and their 13-year-old daughter.

Peters told the judge that she had gone yesterday, immediately after the sentencing and pre-arranged with his jailers to be there at 9 a.m. this morning. She said she waited for the jailers to get their copies of the court order as well and then scheduled the visit.

“Me and my daughter came to say good bye to him and he’s gone,” she said tearfully.

Prather, who sentenced Peters to what is essentially a life sentence for shooting at three McHenry County deputies — seriously injuring two, apologized and told Peters that sending her husband away before she saw him was “inconsiderate.”

“However, there is nothing I can do,” Prather said.

The woman, with her daughter at her side, left the courtroom in tears and said “Nobody cares.”

Dave Devane, chief administrative officer who oversees the jail and police operations, said the jail never received its copy of the court order stating the contact visit had been approved by Prather — a copy of what Peters had in her hand on Thursday.

However, Peters said when she went to the jail after the sentencing she waited until the jailers received that paperwork so she could schedule her visit.

That same court order also included the approved request to allow Peters to make two non-collect phone calls, and Peters said her husband had called her Thursday night. So, Lisa Peters, questioned if he was allowed to make the phone calls then they should have known he also would have been allowed a visit. She said jailers knew she was coming to visit.

Devane denies the jail ever received the court order and said no visit was ever scheduled.

“The officer went up to (the courtroom to) find the yellow order and looked all around and couldn’t find it, therefore we were never given an official court order to permit this visit. (Visits) don’t happen without a court order. The scheduling doesn’t have any legal significance, the court order does,” Devane said.

He said Peters was moved at 5:45 am Friday morning as a single passenger to Stateville Correctional Center in Crest Hill.

He said Peters had been “cheeking” his medication, was on a razor restriction and on suicide watch. Devane declined to say what the medication was and for what he was prescribed.

Throughout Scott Peters’ detainment in the county jail since his October arrest he repeatedly alleged mistreatment by jailers. Each time Prather found them to have no basis.
Devane said today that Peters’ accusations against his jailers are “untrue.”

Holiday Hills shooter sentenced to 135 years in prison: Victims and loved ones share their stories

Scott Peters, the Holiday Hills man who shot and wounded two McHenry County deputies as they made a well-being check at his home last October, was sentenced today to 135 years in prison.

During today’s sentencing the eight-year-old son of Deputy Khalia Satkiewicz, one of the wounded officers, described his thoughts at first seeing his mother in the hospital and wanting to give her a hug.

“When I saw her in the bed I felt very sad … I felt mad at the man who shot my mommy,” said Nicholas Satkiewicz as his tears filled the courtroom.

Peters, 52, who was found guilty in April of 15 counts of attempted murder of a peace officer, aggravated battery with a firearm and aggravated discharge of a firearm at a peace officer, sat stoic as his sentence was read.

Just after 1 a.m. Oct 16, Peters fired shots from an assault rifle at Satkiewicz and Deputy Dwight Maness thorough a closed front door.

He then opened the door and chased them, still shooting, as they ran for cover in the darkness. He struck and seriously wounded the deputies. He also fired shots at a third deputy, Eric Luna, who was not injured. Peters then led authorities on a 16-hour manhunt before being arrested.

Satkiewicz’s 13-year-old daughter Sierra said seeing her mom wounded and crying for the first time in the hospital was “heartbreaking.”

“My mother didn’t deserve any of this,” she said.

As the children read their statements Peters sat without emotion, however, his wife Lisa, quietly wiped away tears.

Robert Satkiewicz, an Illinois State Police Master Sergeant, described what Peters did that night — hiding behind a door and shooting at officers who went to his home to help his own wife and daughter– as “hurtful, destructive and cowardice.”

“You are lucky I wasn’t there, you wouldn’t be here today,” he told Peters. “You are a domestic terrorist and should be treated as such. … “I pray you never see the light of day outside prison walls again.”

Deputy Khalia Satkiewicz said “Nightmare cannot begin to describe the terror I felt that night.”

“The night turned into an ambush that was meant to kill us … His agenda was clear, he was hellbent on killing us,” she said adding that she saw her children’s faces before her as she ran for cover.

“We should be dead … God was with us that night. “Evil showed itself on Oct. 16 in the form of Scott Peters,” she said. “The physical wounds will heal but the mental and emotional scars will be with me my entire lifetime.”

Maness’ colleague McHenry County Police Sergeant Travis McDonald, read a statement written by Maness who could not attend the sentencing. He suffered new injuries this week to his right leg following a procedure to help repair his left leg and was in the hospital. He has so far undergone 15 surgeries.

Maness wrote that for his whole life, including serving 20 years in the military and as a police officer the last seven, he has been a “warrior” and has “(stood) up for people who cannot stand up for themselves.”

Calling Peters a “coward” and a “sociopath” Maness wrote that Peters “has no honor” and “does not know what it is like to sacrifice.

“It is all about him,” Maness wrote. He added that the injuries sustained in the ambush have caused him to lose “every ounce of dignity” and he credited his wife Sue with caring for him.

The events of that night have caused him to be “shut out form the outside world” and he has suffered greatly physically, mentally and emotionally.

However, he said, the incident had brought the department closer together and that after that day deputies “held their children a little tighter and told their spouses they loved them a little more.”

Despite his injuries, Maness said “I am a warrior and will continue to walk the warrior’s path.”

His wife, Sue Maness, described getting the phone call at 2 a.m. that her husband had been shot.

“I was paralyzed with fear and sick to my stomach,” she said.

“My husband is the epitome of what a soldier, a police officer and a man should be … (you are) coward hiding behind a door. What kind of a man is that?
Before the hearing got underway, the prosecutor played an audio recording of a phone call Peters made to his wife after being found guilty on April 30. On the recording Peters tells his wife that he was found guilty and asks her to find him a new lawyer. He made claims that his attorneys, jail officers and the jury were all against him and that he was not treated fairly. He also accused police officers of taking the front door off and shooting more bullet holes into it, setting him up.

“The whole thing is rigged,” he repeatedly told his wife.

Often referring to one another as “baby and “honey” Peters told his wife he was sorry and that she didn’t have to stay with him.

Before sentencing his public defense attorney Angelo Mourelatos said Peters may suffer some mental health issues including depression, delusions and post traumatic stress disorder. He also said a long prison term could be a hardship on his wife and 13-year-old daughter.

Peters apologized to all the families who were hurt by what he did. He said he has “been stick to my stomach ever since” that night.

“In the end there were families on each side of the door at my house that night,” Peters said. “I pray everyone will recover from it.”

Before handing down, what is essentially a life sentence, Prather told Peters that he had never taken responsibility nor shown any remorse for what he did. She also called his accusations in the phone call to his wife in which he said the officers staged the crime scene by shooting bullets into his front door as “ludicrous.”

Prather said the responsibility of what happened “lays right at your feet.”

“There was no nonsense in this case, no lies, the only lies I heard in this case came from you,” Prather said.

Lawyer: State didn’t prove murder by intimidation in Johnsburg teen’s death
By Amanda Marrazzo
Chicago Tribune
Trials and Arbitration Homicide

Defense attorney: No proof that convicted murderer ordered friend to kill Johnsburg teen in 2002.
A lawyer for Mario Casciaro, who is serving a 26-year prison term for the disappearance and presumed murder of a Johnsburg teenager, argued in front of appeals judges Monday that prosecutors did not prove their case when a jury convicted him of murder in 2013.

Casciaro was found guilty of the seldom-used charge of first-degree murder with intimidation in the presumed death of 17-year-old Brian Carrick. Prosecutors argued that Casciaro was responsible because he had ordered his associate, Shane Lamb, to confront Carrick in a chain of events that ended with the teen’s disappearance. His body has never been found.

But Casciaro’s attorney, Kathleen Zellner, argued before 2nd District Appellate Court judges in Elgin Monday that the state failed to prove Casciaro ordered Lamb to intimidate Carrick over a $500 pot-dealing debt that Carrick owed Casciaro.

Lamb had testified during Casciaro’s two murder trials — the first ended in a hung jury in 2012 — that he was the “muscle” of Casciaro’s marijuana-dealing operation that he ran out of the Johnsburg’s grocery store where Casciaro, Carrick and Lamb worked.

Lamb said that when he met Carrick inside the store’s produce cooler on Dec. 20, 2002, they argued and things quickly escalated. Lamb said he saw Carrick fall to the ground unconscious after he punched Carrick and then, at Casciaro’s direction, Lamb left the store and never saw Carrick again.

Lamb received immunity in the case to testify against Casciaro but has since pleaded guilty in an unrelated weapons case and is serving a 20-year prison term.

Zellner, who has long questioned the validity of Lamb’s testimony, said that even if the state’s scenario is true, there was no evidence that Casciaro committed the crime of intimidation by only directing Lamb to “talk” to Carrick.

She argued before the appeals judges that Carrick and Lamb had a friendly relationship and that Carrick would not have been intimidated by Lamb.

“This crime did not occur the way the state presented it,” Zellner said.

She said a blood spatter expert determined the murder took place in the back hallway of the store, not inside the cooler. She also contended that Casciaro had an “air-tight” alibi that night: He was in the break room and not near the crime scene.

Zellner also pointed to another former co-worker, who has since died, as the possible killer.

“The evidence was insufficient to establish intimidation,” Zellner said adding that a conviction based on that rare charge has never been successfully used in another Illinois case.

Appellate Prosecutor David Bernhard disputed Zellner’s notion that Casciaro’s alibi was air-tight. Bernhard noted that about 10 years lapsed between Carrick’s disappearance and Casciaro’s first trial. Any memories of that evening would have been “general,” Bernard said.

Bernhard said it is plausible that Carrick knew Lamb was being used that night as an instrument of intimidation.

“Clearly he would have been scared if someone with the size and reputation of Lamb came in,” Bernhard said. “(Carrick) had already been talked to by (Casciaro). … He was a very small person.”

The panel of judges questioned whether words alone are enough to rise to the level of intimidation, and whether Casciaro could be held responsible for Lamb punching Carrick. Bernhard stressed that Lamb was only present that night because Casciaro told him to come to the store to collect the money.

“It’s clear the jury made the reasonable inference that this would scare the victim, and there was a reason he should (have been) scared,” Bernhard said.

Bernhard dismissed the defense attorney’s theory that Carrick was killed in a back hallway, not in the cooler. Bernhard said blood could have spattered in the hallway during a hasty cleanup.

Lamb has since recanted his testimony against Casciaro, saying he lied on the witness stand because McHenry County prosecutors told him what to say. County officials have strongly denied that claim.

The appeals court is expected to rule in the coming weeks or months.

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