Monday, June 20, 2005


If you ever wondered why Illinois needs a law -- like the one proposed by Tom Cross -- that would require that a jury conclude beyond all doubt that the defendant was guilty before applying the death penalty, look no further than the case of Kevin Fox:
Oct. 26, 2004: Kevin Fox is arrested after authorities say he makes a videotaped statement saying he accidentally killed her by hitting her in the head with a door, and in a panic dumped her in the creek after binding, gagging and sexually assaulting her body to make it look like a kidnapping.

Oct. 28, 2004: Will County State's Attorney Jeffrey Tomczak files criminal complaint charging Fox with first-degree murder and predatory criminal sexual assault of a child and announces he will seek death penalty against Fox.

Oct. 30, 2004: Kevin Fox releases his own statement proclaiming innocence and accusing police of coercing him into falsely admitting he killed Riley and then covered up the death.

Nov. 2, 2004: Republican Tomczak loses re-election bid to Democrat James Glasgow.


Feb. 25, 2005: Glasgow's office and Fox's lawyers agree to process for comparing DNA evidence from Riley's body and samples supplied by Kevin Fox.

June 17, 2005: A day after state's attorney and defense lawyers receive lab results excluding Kevin Fox as source of DNA obtained from his daughter's body, Fox is released from jail.
And if you ever wondered how prosecutors could possibly oppose such a bill, look no further than the case of Kevin Fox:
Will County State's Attorney James Glasgow did not say his predecessor, Jeffrey Tomczak, rushed Kevin Fox's arrest just five days before the election in an unsuccessful attempt to keep his job.

And Glasgow never explicitly criticized Tomczak for not comparing Kevin Fox' DNA with evidence samples taken from his daughter's body.

But in his court motion and his press release, Glasgow spelled out his former political rival's timing and omissions.

When Kevin Fox was arrested in October, his attorney, Kathleen Zellner, called the timing "suspicious" because of the imminent election in which Tomczak was fighting for his political life against Glasgow.

Tomczak called the suggestion that Fox's arrest was designed more to help his campaign than solve the murder "baseless."

Tomczak refused to comment at the time on whether he had tested Kevin Fox's DNA against the samples taken from his daughter five months earlier. He did say at the time that he was seeking the death penalty for Kevin Fox -- as Glasgow noted Friday.
How many different times and in how many different ways must the criminal justice system fail before we make some common sense reforms to the Illinois death penalty.

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