$3 million bond set for ex-Chicago cop charged with allegedly shooting, killing wife on her 68th birthday

Bond was increased Thursday to $3 million for a former Chicago police officer accused of shooting and killing his wife in their Spring Grove home last week.

Lorin Volberding, 71, was brought out before McHenry County Judge Sharon Prather in a wheelchair as prosecutors asked to increase his bond from $1 million to $5 million.

Assistant State’s Attorney Robert Zalud said Volberding is a “significant danger” to himself and others.

Zalud said Volberding’s home is valued at $299,000 therefore he could potentially post the required 10 percent of the lower bond. He also said he read police reports stating that Volberding called his neighbor on Friday afternoon and said he had shot his wife. The neighbor called police and when they arrived Zalud said Volberding in “a clear and coherent manner” is heard and seen on police body cameras saying “I shot my wife … give me a few minutes and I’ll tell you everything that happened.”

Police found Elizabeth Volberding lying on dead on her kitchen floor with a gun nearby. It was her 68th birthday.

Zalud also told the judge about an incident in January of 2015 when authorities said he had barricaded himself and his wife inside their home and threatened to kill her.
Volberding’s firearm owner’s identification card was revoked after this incident but he was not charged.

Spring Grove Police said at the time Elizabeth Volberding, who also was known as Betty, reported that her husband was diagnosed with dementia.

In arguing against the increase, Assistant Public Defender Angelo Mourelatos noted Volberding’s current condition making it difficult to “ascertain his assets now.”

In court Volberding appears somewhat weak, incoherent and disheveled.

“Based on his age and (having) no real criminal background I think the $1 million is fair,” Mourelaots said.

Earlier this week, Volberding walked before the judge with the assistance of a sheriff’s deputy. He was visibly trembling and disoriented. Prather ordered that Volberding undergo a physical and mental health evaluation.

Elizabeth Volberding’s son was in court Thursday but left without comment.

Hello friends, family and followers.

Tonight, I wrote on Bittersweet over at ChicagoNow a short post on baby Jonylah Watkins funeral that took place  today before hundreds of mourners in a south side church.

I know I’ve talked and written a lot about our personal situation here at home, and I so appreciate all the support and love we as a family have felt in return. I have met so many new people out in the “bloggosphere” who are dealing with exactly the same thing we are. The support has been so uplifting and educational. It helps me so much I can’t even put it all into words (too funny right, since that is what I do, put feelings into words).

But today I wanted to sing a different song, and felt Jonylah deserved some time in my heart and in all of our thoughts.

Please see ChicagoNow (link below) “like” share, comment, and let me know you stopped by. Please click follow on Amandamarrazzo.com and type in your email on the Bittersweet page at ChicagoNow. Thank you for all your love and support.

We are on our way now to Abby’s school for her choir and band concert. Thank God we get to do that. Jonylah’s mom will never be able to do that with her daughter. Puts everything in perspective.

Until next time….


House of Horrors

Hi my dear friends! Please visit Bittersweet (link below) sometime this week! I wrote a blog about a story I read in Chicago Tribune about a horrible house in a Chicago neighborhood where women were held, beaten, drugged, forced to prostitute……Just awful. I know, not happy and cheery, but important nonetheless. I really appreciate your support here and over at Bittersweet! Please read, like, share, comment and let me know you visited. Also, please write in your email address over in the box on Bittersweet. That will then generate alerts each time I post and tell ChicagoNow big shots, that I’m doing good and I have readers! xoxo

Until next time…..  🙂


Good and Bad

Last week, I covered a wonderful, uplifting story for the Chicago Tribune about a group that works to secure funds from large corporations and organizes volunteers to build playgrounds in low-income or impoverished neighborhoods.

The group KaBOOM! has built scores of these elaborate playgrounds around the country, there are more than 140 in the poorer communities in the Chicago area. This story was about a playground built by nearly 500 people/volunteers/community members/businessmen and local officials on the east side of Elgin Ill.

The older, working class neighborhood is bordered by busy roads and dotted with run down homes. If a child from that neighborhood wanted to go to a park, they’d have to cross very dangerous roads and walk far from their home in unsafe neighborhoods to find one.

 So on that beautiful Fall day, hundreds of  people –many not even from the area who will never know a child who will call that their playground– laughing and chatting up strangers turned work partners for the day (and possibly friends for a lifetime) gathered to assemble play equipment, shovel tons and tons of mulch and black dirt and mix and pour concrete on an eight-acre site.
As this was going on, another group of volunteers was going to various nearby run down houses, cleaning up yards, doing some much-needed painting and other household repairs that needed tending to. Many of these homeowners were just too old and not able-bodied to do these tasks, so volunteers did it for them.

One story I heard involved a group of men who walked up to knock on the door of a tattered old house to ask what they could do for the elderly woman living there alone. As they walked up to the door, the porch of this home literally collapsed! Imagine if that poor old woman would have been alone and fallen through that porch.

In another story I heard about that day, volunteers knocked on the door of another older woman’s home, while at the same time a different group of volunteers met a man who lives nearby who sad he is always looking for ways to help the community.  He just happened to be an experienced rehabber. So the volunteers put these two different homeowners, who live just steps from each other, together. Now the man has committed himself and his four teenage sons to “adopt” this woman and help her out around her home on a regular basis.

These heart warming, genuine stories of simple human goodness reminded me that there is just so much good in the world. And it was a reminder I so badly needed. Because last week I also worked on other stories that were less than warm and fuzzy.

These stories involved  allegations of sexual child abuse, a husband sent to prison for trying to murder his wife, another man who is going to prison for trying to murder the ex-lover of his girlfriend.

These scenarios were all so very different from those that I witnessed and/or heard of in Elgin.

The one common thing involved: humanity. In one week I experienced the best and the worst in humanity.

This compilation of stories and experiences, a glimpse of just one week in my life, again reminded me of this lesson: We all have the potential for good and bad. It is a choice to be good or bad, to do good or bad. And whatever we choose affects countless numbers of others.

You choose.


I’ve seen this word a couple times this past week “reboot.” 


Once it was used as a headline to a story in a magazine about Katie Couric. She was being interviewed about her life, different transitions in her career and her latest move in starting her new talk show.  She said something along the lines of life is a series of reboots.


I really get that.


I think about when I was younger before marriage and kids. My plan was to go to college, move to New York and actually be a version of Katie Couric or Diane Sawyer. I’d travel the world, meet amazing people and tell stories of all kinds to a huge TV audience on my show that would be like a 20/20 or Dateline.


And for a time, I was on the road to that life, so I thought. I went to college, had internships at a local TV station, started a full-time job as a reporter right out of college. I worked really, really hard to get to where I believed I belonged, doing work that everyone would be interested in. During this timeframe of my early 20s, I made no money, but it didn’t matter because I believed all the struggles were necessary stepping stones.


But life came along and had a different plan. I got married and had two daughters. So, I had to reboot.


I knew I couldn’t just quit my dream completely of being a professional writer and reporter and doing work that I believed really mattered. I had worked so hard to even go to college (I had all those student loans to pay back), how could I just quit?


So while living in a suburb of Milwaukee with two little girls and Tony, my husband who worked long hours, I began writing for local newspapers from home. I recall bouncing a baby in a baby chair with my foot, so she wouldn’t cry, as I had my hands on a computer keyboard and a phone wedged between my ear and shoulder interviewing a local politician. I was terrified she would cry and I would not seem professional to this man on the other end of the phone!


So as time went on, I thought, OK, Milwaukee is a great area for news and people, with great schools (now that kids are part of this new reboot). I’m making wonderful contacts and building a good reputation here, so I then planned for a life as a cheesehead. Things were going along pretty well for a few years.


Then, another reboot.


Tony was transferred to Indianapolis and of course we went along and set up a new life in a nice suburb. I once again found the local paper and so on. But this time after just one year, a sudden reboot.


Tony was transferred to St. Louis and we all moved to a very nice suburb in St. Charles County Mo.  I again found the biggest daily paper and a great magazine to write for, from home. We settled into a nice home, pretty neighborhood and looked forward to the girls attending great schools.  Then guess what? After two years, another reboot. 


We relocated again, this time to a suburb of Chicago where we have been now for 10 years. I followed my same steps in rebooting, set up shop with the biggest newspaper in town and a couple magazines. The girls are in great schools and enjoying a wonderful childhood with friends and activities allowing them to grow, mature and be amazing young adults. And we have added one cat and two dogs to our family.


So it’s been pretty calm now as far as where we live. There have been some minor career reboots, but I’m still writing and telling great stories. 


As I look back on what is now 20 years since graduating college, two decades away from that young girl with a wandering spirit and lots of ambition who thought she’d be on TV alongside Diane and Katie, I wonder … . Where is she? What would have been? 


I truly think I am where I am supposed to be today. I believe that although at times it was challenging and exhausting, rebooting my life every few years has strengthened who I am.  I know that I am nowhere near where I thought I’d be in my life today, but I’m still here.  And I’m doing OK. No, better than OK.


I know there will be more reboots down the road. The one thing I can always count on in life is there will always be change.  But I can handle it!


Oh the other “reboot” I saw was for a boot sale at a local fashion store! 


I do need to go get some new boots.