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ST. LOUIS (AP) - A disgraced Illinois judge at the center of a courthouse drug scandal is getting time to square away things before serving a two-year sentence on heroin and gun convictions.
 
But exactly where Michael Cook will spend his time behind bars remains murky.
 
A filing by U.S. District Judge Joe Billy McDade shows the former St. Clair County judge must surrender by May 28 to whatever lockup the Federal Bureau of Prisons slots for him.
 
McDade also recommends that Cook be placed in a prison in Florida, Alabama or South Carolina.
 
Cook was sentenced last month.
 
He resigned last year. He was charged after the cocaine-overdose death of a fellow judge while the two were at the Cook family's hunting cabin.
Published in Local News
EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) - A former southwestern Illinois judge at the center of a courthouse drug scandal that included a fellow judge's cocaine death is headed to federal prison for two years.
 
U.S. District Judge Joe Billy McDade on Friday also fined former St. Clair County Circuit Judge Michael Cook more than $75,000 on heroin and gun charges. Federal prosecutors had requested an 18-month sentence. Cook's attorney suggested a 6-month term was appropriate.
 
McDade last month rejected a deal between the two sides, calling an agreed-upon prison term of 18 months insufficient.
 
On Friday, the 43-year-old Cook entered an open plea, meaning the judge would decide his sentence.
 
McDade calls the two-year sentence appropriate given the negative affect on the public's confidence in the judiciary.
Published in Local News
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (AP) - A suspect in the slaying of a Cape Girardeau tattoo artist whose body was found in a Bonne Terre septic tank has pleaded guilty to federal drug charges in a separate case.
 
Forty-three-year-old Brent Bouren of St. Louis faces state charges of second-degree murder, armed criminal action, witness tampering, second-degree assault and felonious restraint in connection with the death of Samuel "Tick" Francis.
 
Bouren is accused of watching another man attack Francis with a baseball bat, participating in the assault and threatening witnesses with similar treatment to keep them quiet.
 
The Southeast Missourian reports that Bouren pleaded guilty Monday to one count each of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and conspiracy to distribute cocaine. A sentencing hearing is set for early June.
Published in Local News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri lawmakers gave final approval to legislation that could lower treatment cost for some cancer patients.
 
The bill would prohibit insurance companies from charging patients more than $75 for oral cancer drugs rather than traditional intravenous treatments. Sponsoring Rep. Sheila Solon, of Blue Springs, says oral drugs often carry fewer side effects for cancer patients.
 
The House voted 147-6 on Thursday to send the bill to Gov. Jay Nixon's desk. The Senate passed the measure last month.
 
Patients are often charged much more for oral chemotherapy because it is handled as a pharmacy benefit. Traditional intravenous treatments often cost only the standard co-payment for an office visit.
 
House Speaker Tim Jones says the bill would be among the most significant pieces of legislation passed by the Legislature this year.
Published in Local News
Saturday, 15 February 2014 09:34

Coroner examines 3 Madison County heroin deaths

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (AP) — Authorities in southwestern Illinois' Madison County are investigating the deaths of three people who died from suspected heroin overdoses after all three bodies were found within a span of five hours.

Coroner Stephen Nonn says the body of 29-year-old Katie Heavey of Collinsville was found Thursday night by her father.

Nonn says 38-year-old Dearold Oseland was found dead early Friday in his Roxana apartment by his girlfriend. That was about 90 minutes before 40-year-old Paul Simpson's body was found in his Granite City home.

Nonn says autopsies in each case were inconclusive, and toxicology tests are pending.

The coroner says evidence of drug use was found at each scene.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

Published in Local News

The drug dealer at the center of the St. Clair County court scandal, is headed to prison.

 

Sean McGilvery was sentenced to 10 years in prison Thursday. McGilvery pleaded guilty to selling heroin last year and said that then-judge Michael Cook was a regular customer. Court documents say that Cook stopped by McGilvery's house almost every day to pick up heroin. Cook admitted to drug charges and will be sentenced next month.

 

Another Judge, Joe Christ, died of a cocaine overdose at a cabin owned by Cook in March. 

Published in Local News
EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (AP) - A southwestern Illinois woman who was accused in 2011 of providing the heroin that killed her boyfriend and another man is on trial on charges that she injected a woman with a non-fatal overdose of the drug.
 
Jury selection began Tuesday for 29-year-old Angella Halliday's Madison County trial on an aggravated battery count linked to last summer's overdose of a Wood River woman who later was revived by paramedics.
 
Halliday was charged with two counts of drug-induced homicide in 2011 for allegedly providing the heroin that killed a Worden man and her boyfriend weeks apart.
 
Prosecutors dropped the homicide charges in 2012 after Halliday pleaded guilty to a drug count. She was sentenced to four years in prison but was released on parole in May of last year.
Published in Local News

NEOSHO, Mo. (AP) - A 34-year-old southwest Missouri woman has been sentenced to four years in prison after pleading guilty in the methadone overdose death of her 22-month-old son.

Elizabeth Farnam, of Granby, pleaded guilty in September to second-degree involuntary manslaughter in the June 2012 death of Logan Crow.

A toxicology report showed the toddler died from an overdose of methadone, which is prescribed mainly to treat heroin addiction. Investigators said Farnam had obtained the drug illegally.

Farnam told police at the time that she dropped a methadone pill while Logan was sitting on her lap during a church meeting. The toddler began sweating profusely on the drive home and was put down for an afternoon nap, but wasn't checked until the next morning.

KOAM-TV reports Farnam was sentenced Monday in Newton County.

 

Published in Local News
Tuesday, 19 November 2013 03:43

Toronto council strips mayor of most powers

   TORONTO (AP) — Amid cries of "Shame! Shame!" scandal-plagued Toronto Mayor Rob Ford was stripped of the last of his meaningful powers Monday after a heated City Council debate in which he argued with members of the public, charged hecklers and knocked a councilwoman down.

  Ford called the move a "coup d'etat" and vowed an "outright war" in next year's mayoral election.

   "What's happening here today is not a democratic process, it's a dictatorship process," the 44-year-old mayor declared.

   The council lacks the power to remove Ford from office unless he is convicted of a crime. Instead, members sought the strongest recourse available after recent revelations that Ford smoked crack cocaine and was drunk at public events.

   Ford later said in a TV interview Monday night on the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. that he was "finished" with alcohol, acknowledging that his drinking had resulted in "excessive, stupid, immature behavior."

   Earlier Monday, the council voted overwhelmingly in favor of slashing Ford's office budget by 60 percent and allowing his staff to move to the deputy mayor, who now takes on many of the mayor's former powers. Ford now effectively has no legislative power and no longer chairs the executive committee, although he retains his title and ability to represent Toronto at official functions.

   The debate became raucous after Ford paced around the council chamber and traded barbs with members of the public. The speaker asked security to clear the gallery and a recess was called, but not before Ford barreled toward his detractors, mowing into Councilor Pam McConnell.

   Another councilor asked Ford to apologize. Ford said he was rushing to the defense of his brother, Councilor Doug Ford, and accidentally knocked McConnell down.

   "I picked her up," he said. "I ran around because I thought my brother was getting into an altercation."

   Visibly shaken after Ford ran her over, McConnell, a petite woman in her 60s, said she never expected the chaos that broke out.

   "This is the seat of democracy. It is not a football field. I just wasn't ready. Fortunately, the mayor's staff was in front. They stopped me from hitting my head against the wall. I just need to sit down," McConnell said.

   The motion to strip Ford of his powers was revised from a tougher version to ward off potential legal challenges by letting Ford keep his title and represent the city at official functions. The city's lawyer said Ford was not reduced to being "mayor in name only."

   "Obviously I cannot do the job with eight people in the office with a quarter of the former mayor's budget," Ford said.

   Council members said it was necessary to restrict the mayor's powers given his erratic behavior.

   "Mayor Ford has had many choices. ... Would he change his behavior? Would he step aside and seek help?" said Councilor John Filion. "The mayor unfortunately has chosen the path of denial. Now it's time to take away the keys."

   "The new allegations pile up faster than the old ones can be dealt with. If many Torontonians were initially fascinated by the drama, they are now fed up with it. They want it to end," Filion said.

   Far from being chastened, Ford has vowed to take the council to court and insists he will seek re-election next year.

   "It's a coup d'etat — that's all this is," Ford said as he arrived at City Hall on Monday morning.

   He earlier claimed on a radio station that councilors were against his agenda to save taxpayers money. "If they want me out, they should just call a snap election," Ford told radio station AM640.

   However, the council rejected a motion proposing such an election, and also refused to give Ford another month to get an expert medical opinion on whether he was capable of carrying out his duties.

   Councilor Denzil Minnan-Wong, a former Ford ally, said it's about his conduct.

   "This is about embarrassing the city, his involvement with gangs, his involvement with crack cocaine. This is about his admission that he gets behind the wheel while drinking," Minnan-Wong said.

   "He's the worst spokesman for the city of Toronto right now."

   Toronto, a city of 2.7 million people, has been abuzz with the Ford melodrama since May, when news outlets reported that he had been caught on video smoking crack.

   Recently released court documents show Ford became the subject of a police investigation after those reports surfaced. Ford, who denied there was any incriminating video, now acknowledges the reports were accurate.

   In interviews with police, former Ford staffers have made further accusations, saying the mayor drank heavily, sometimes drove while intoxicated and pressured a female staffer to engage in oral sex.

   On Thursday, Ford spouted an obscenity on live television while denying the sex allegation, saying he was "happily married" and using crude language to assert that he enjoys enough oral sex at home.

   Last week, after admitting to excessive drinking and buying illegal drugs, Ford disclosed that he is seeking medical help. But he and his family insist he is not an addict and does not need rehab.

   In his Monday interview with the CBC, the mayor said that he had only smoked crack once. "This is an isolated incident," he said.

   Ford admitted that he had bought marijuana since becoming mayor. But he denied that he has driven drunk, and said he was "finished" with drinking.

   "I've had a come-to-Jesus moment if you want to call it that," Ford said. "Just the humiliation and the belittling and the people I've left down. And it's all because of alcohol. Excessive, stupid, immature behavior and that's it."

   Ford said he had let his family down. He said it "ripped his heart out" when Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, a family friend, recently became choked up when he was asked about Ford.

   Prime Minister Stephen Harper — like Ford a Conservative — was in Toronto on Monday to meet with area Parliament members from his party. Harper's office issued a statement which said the latest allegations against Ford "are troubling."

   "Our Government does not condone illegal drug use, especially by elected officials while in office," it said.

   Ford and his brother made their debut on a current events television show broadcast Monday night called "Ford Nation" on the conservative tabloid Sun News Network in Canada.

   Rob Ford told viewers they would see a change in him over the next few months. "I'll take a urine sample right now," Ford said on the show which was taped Sunday.

   With Ford refusing to step aside, even temporarily, the City Council took its first steps to weaken his powers on Friday, voting 39-3 to suspend his authority to appoint and dismiss the deputy mayor and the executive committee. The council also voted to give the deputy mayor authority to handle any civic emergency.

   Ford was elected three years ago with overwhelming support from Toronto's conservative-leaning outer suburbs, where many voters felt angry about what they considered wasteful spending and elitist politics at City Hall. He campaigned on promises to "stop the gravy train" by curbing public spending and keeping taxes low.

Published in National News

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) - A southwestern Illinois fire chief has been sentenced to two years in federal prison for violating his probation related to a previous drug case.

A federal judge in East St. Louis revoked Carlos Darough's probation on Thursday. That's roughly two weeks after Darough was found to have a felony amount of marijuana in his Alorton village vehicle during a traffic stop.

Thirty-six-year-old Darough of Belleville had been serving five years of supervised release connected to a cocaine-related charge that drew him an eight-year federal prison term in 2007.

Court records show Darough has been issued more than 100 citations and repeatedly has been arrested over the past two decades on charges ranging from speeding to domestic battery.

 

Published in Local News
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