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May 2010


State's Attorney's Stunning Claim

(JOLIET) Blame it on "the young people."   That seemed to be the sentiment Will County State's Attorney James Glasgow stumbled into as he tried to explain why a man might confess to a killing he did not commit.  

It wasn't the first time unbelievable events have come out of Will County government buildings.  In fact, 6 years ago we were all sitting before a different state's attorney as he announced charges that Kevin Fox had killed his 3-year-old daughter Riley... and confessed to it on videotape.  Almost immediately, Fox said the confession had been coerced by Will County Sheriff's detectives.

Riley Fox's murder, her father's reported confession and the charges all unfolded amidst a bitter election battle between then-prosecutor Jeff Tomczak and Glasgow.  

Eight months later we were back in Will County.  This time we were here reporting on DNA evidence that put another, unidentified person, at Riley Fox's murder scene.  Freshly elected state's attorney Glasgow ordered Fox released.  In the years that followed a judge would rule detectives framed Fox and were "absurd" to overlook evidence pointing to other suspects.

Today, prosecutors say that DNA evidence shows convicted sex offender Scott Eby was likely Riley's killer.  Reporters peppered Glasgow with questions about how and why the case was so mishandled.  He blamed his predecessor, financial constrains, and then seemed to suggest Kevin Fox's confession to a crime he didn't commit was a symptom of generational differences.

"I'm 60 years old and I grew up in a generation where people wouldn't make those statements," Glasgow told reporters.  "But now we've got 'generation x' and 'generation y' and they're a whole different mindset."

It's as if Glasgow believes innocent men confess to crimes in the same way teens listen to bad music or wear their hair too long and shaggy.  If Glasgow believes that, I would encourage him to spend some time in a courtroom downtown at the Dirksen Federal Building in the next few weeks.  That's where former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge is on trial, accused of conspiring to cover-up beatings, torture and coerced confessions that are said to have resulted in countless innocent men going to death row.  Coerced confessions from men of Glasgow's generation.


Chicago: This could have been us

Odds and ends from what was the Chicago Olympic beat:

- Chicago raised a little more than $75 million to fund its failed Olympic bid. The organizing committee spent $59 million.  The leftover money is going to fund sports programs for city kids.

- This week an International Olympic Committee team finished its first formal visit to Rio since the city beat Chicago to host the 2016 Summer Games.  It's conclusion: 'Work harder.' Since winning, Rio has proposed moving some venues and revising budget figures.  Now comes concern from the IOC that the city may be falling behind in the still early building process. "It had laid a solid foundation, but the scope of the Olympic project is immense, and it is important no time is wasted," said Nawal el Moutawakel of the IOC's coordination commission.

- London continues to stun the marketing world with another stupefying branding decision.  The London 2012 logo looks like shattered glass and the animated version reportedly induced seizures.

This week the mascots of the London Games were revealed.  Their names are Wenlock and Mandeville. Pokemon meet mutant:


You can see them dance and hear from the guy who admits to designing the coo ky characters here:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/othersports/olympics/london2012/7741352/London-2012-Olympic-mascots-Wenlock-and-Mandeville-unveiled.html -


Mother's Day Memories, of a murdered son

Mother's Day is no longer a time to celebrate for Annette Nance-Holt.  Neither is her birthday, which falls a few days away.  In fact, the entire month of May is difficult for this mother.  Her son Blair was shot and killed three days before Mother's Day 2007. 

By all accounts Blair was a remarkable young man who died protecting a friend from a bullet fired at a CTA bus. Blair's father is a Chicago Police officer, his mother a Chicago Fire Department captain. Anyone who thinks "it'll never happen to my son," doesn't know Ron and Annette Holt.

In the three years that followed Blair's murder the Holt's have become tireless crusaders against the crime that grips many Chicago neighborhoods.  They give of their time and their hearts and stand in front of the cameras, re-sharing their pain each time they are asked in the hope their son's story will deter future killings.

That's where we found Annette Nance-Holt this year, on the eve of Mother's Day.  She was at St. Sabina church promoting the city's annual gun turn-in day where citizens are paid cash to hand in their weapons. "Getting another gun off the street might save another life," Mrs. Nance-Holt said. "Perhaps it will spare another mother the grief I suffer every day not having my son."

It's ashame it takes the promise of $100 on an untraceable MasterCard to get people to do the right thing, especially on Mother's Day weekend.