Convicted Centreville cop killer sentenced to 53 years in prison
Lemuel Houston is escorted from a St. Clair County courtroom after being sentenced for the 2009 shooting of Centreville Police Lt. Greg Jones. STEVE NAGY
By GEORGE PAWLACZYK NEWS-DEMOCRAT — News-Democrat
BELLEVILLE — Assistant State's Attorney Steve Sallerson argued that life without parole was the right sentence for cop killer Lemuel Houston, who murdered Centreville Police Lt. Gregory Jonas in 2009 by shooting him four times in the head.
Defense attorney Tom Q. Keefe III argued that life and the high end of a second option -- 20 to 60 years -- were inappropriate, given a finding by two mental health professionals that his client was mentally impaired to the extent he ranks in the bottom 0.5 percent of the general population in mental acuity.
On Tuesday in St. Clair County Court, Circuit Judge John Baricevic dipped below the maximum, but not by much, sentencing the 25-year-old Houston to 53 years in prison.
The 2011 deaths were the first time that more officers were killed by suspects than car accidents, according to data compiled by the International Association of Chiefs of Police. The number was the highest in nearly two decades, excluding those who died in the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001 and the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995.
James W. Brown was a Railroad Agent for the M&O Railroad when he was murdered on October 29, 1901 in Cahokia, Illinois.
Brown was born in 1850, in Marion County, Illinois. His family moved to Will County, Illinois in 1860. At Age 15 he joined the Union Army as part of the 15th Illinois Infantry. He joined in March 1865, only a few weeks before the end of the war. He mustered out in July of 1865.
In 1890 he was in East St. Louis, Illinois, with his family and working as an Night watchman. Later in the decade he was an East St. Louis Police Officer. He was working for the M&O Railroad in 1901 at the time of his murder.
On October 29, 1901, Brown and his partner, J. C. Combs, were investigating the theft of brass items from box cars along a siding in Cahokia, Illinois. The officers were ambushed. Brown was shot. One of the thieves was killed but the others escaped during a running gun battle with Combs.
Returning to the scene, Combs discovered that Brown's wallet had been looted by the thieves and his watch was gone. The dead thief was clutching Brown's gun in his hand. Brown was buried in Mt. Hope Cemetery in Belleville, Illinois.
The research and analysis conducted by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund helps to bring widespread attention to the dangers officers continue to face and, as importantly, helps point to areas where we need to do a better job in protecting our officers.
According to preliminary data released today by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, 173 officers have been killed during 2011 — up 13 percent from 153 line-of-duty deaths in 2010.
For the first time in 14 years, firearms deaths outnumber traffic-related fatalities, perhaps signaling a positive impact training has had on law enforcement.
Total Fatalities: 1961-2011
Especially troubling, 68 officers were shot and killed during the past year, an increase of 15 percent over the 59 killed by gunfire in 2010. A majority of these fatalities occurred as police officers were attempting an arrest, responding to domestic disturbance calls, or investigating suspicious persons or circumstances.
“Drastic budget cuts affecting law enforcement agencies across the country have put our officers at grave risk,” declared NLEOMF Chairman Craig W. Floyd.
Robert J. "Bob" Miller, 77, of Belleville, Ill., born Nov. 5, 1934, in Leadington, Mo., died Nov. 24, 2011, in Belleville, Ill.
Mr. Miller was a St. Clair County Deputy Sheriff for 40 years before retiring. He loved the outdoors, especially fishing; he formerly was a member of the Mid State Bass Anglers.
Robert was preceded in death by his parents; and a brother, William E. Miller.
Surviving are his loving wife of 57 years, Betty J., nee Richardson, Miller of Belleville, Ill.; his two sons, William (Angela) Miller of Sorento, Ill., and Craig (Jennifer Jarrell) Miller of Shiloh, Ill.; grandchildren, Michelle (Joshua) Kee, John (Trish) Carrico, Kyle Jarrell, and Kristen Maisel; and a great-granddaughter, Bethany Renee Kee.
Following an alarming 25% increase in 2010, the number of law enforcement fatalities in the U.S. have continued to rise in the first six months of 2011.
Total Fatalities: Mid-Year 1961-2011
Preliminary data from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund show a disturbing 33% increase in firearms-related fatalities, up from 30 fatalities during the same time period in 2010 to 40 officers shot and killed in 2011.
Traditionally the leading cause of law enforcement fatalities, traffic-related fatalities declined 17% in the first half of the year, from 42 in 2010 to 35 in 2011.
Line-of-duty deaths surge nearly 40 percent; firearms-related killings increase by more than 20 percent for second year in a row
December 27, 2010
Washington, DC– The number of U.S. law enforcement fatalities spiked by 37 percent in 2010—an alarming increase that follows two years of declining deaths among our nation’s policing professionals.
A total of 160 federal, state and local law enforcement officers died in the line of duty during the past 12 months, according to preliminary data compiled by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF). This represents a dramatic increase over the 117 officer fatalities in 2009, which marked a 50-year low.
Fifty-nine officers have been shot and killed during the past year, which is a 20 percent increase over the 49 killed by gunfire in 2009. Ten of the officers shot to death this year were killed in separate multiple-death incidents in Fresno (CA), San Juan (PR), West Memphis (AR), Tampa (FL) and Hoonah (AK). “A more brazen, cold-blooded criminal element is on the prowl in America, and they don’t think twice about killing a cop,” observed NLEOMF Chairman Craig W. Floyd.
Preliminary data from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund show that for the 13th year in a row, traffic fatalities were the leading cause of officer fatalities, with 73 officers killed in the line of duty—an increase of 43 percent from 2009.
Fifty-nine officers were fatally shot this year; an increase of 20 percent from 49 in 2009. Of the 59 officers, 12 were shot in ambush attacks. Ten of the 12 ambush deaths involved multiple-fatality shootings in Fresno (CA), San Juan (PR), West Memphis (AR), Tampa (FL) and Hoonah (AK). “A more brazen, cold-blooded criminal element is on the prowl in America, and they don’t think twice about killing a cop,” observed NLEOMF Chairman Craig W. Floyd.
Traffic and firearms-related fatalities accounted for over 83 percent of all law enforcement fatalities this year. In addition, nineteen officers died from job-related illnesses, two were beaten, two drowned, two were victims of aircraft accidents, two officers fell to his/her death, and one was killed in a boating accident.
For the fourth year in a row, Texas leads all states and territories with 18 fatalities, 11 percent of all fatalities in 2010. California (11), Illinois (10), and Florida (9), join Texas atop the list of the states with the most fatalities.