Sunday, November 23, 2008

West suburban Chicago man sentenced to 13 years for rape, police chase

A 29 year old west suburban Chicago man was sentenced to 13 years in prison with 85% to serve for raping his ex girlfriend, then fleeing police on a high speed chase leading from Woodridge to an elderly Hinsdale couple's house. DuPage Circuit Judge Kathryn Creswell formally sentenced Joshua Colwell for the August 17, 2007 attack and police chase which led to an August 25, 2008 plea for aggravated criminal sexual assault, aggravated unlawful restraint and aggravated fleeing of a police officer.

Colwell insisted that night's violence was unlike him, but the woman he targeted said the anguish he inflicted upon her during their relationship speaks volumes about his true character. She had an active order of protection against him when he attacked.

After previous bouts of emotional and physical abuse, Colwell forced his way into his ex-girlfriend's Woodridge apartment, demanded one last kiss, then raped her. The victim, through tears, recounted that Colwell intended for a murder-suicide to occur.

"He had plans to end his own life that night and I truly believe he would have taken me with him had I not begged and pleaded with him. I am afraid that when he is released, he will find me and kill me. I fear that this is not over, the stalking, the calls, the confrontations and the unhealthy obsession. It will not be over until he has taken everything away from me."

Prosecutor Demetri Demopoulos described Colwell as a classic Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde personality. The prosecutor sought the maximum punishment. "He will be deceitful and manipulative so long as it suits him," Demopoulos said.

Colwell did not have a prior felony criminal record. His attorney, Justin Sather, gave the judge two dozen letters from family and friends who describe Colwell as trustworthy, remorseful and a changed man. His loving parents and siblings fought back emotion while asking for mercy on his behalf.

While Sather cited 150 hours of classes taken at the DuPage County Jail as signs of rehabilitation, Judge Creswell stated that "it's amazing that no one was killed in all of this."

Aggravated Criminal Sexual Assault, a Class X felony, carries lifetime sex offender registration and a mandatory 6 to 30 year prison sentence in Illinois.

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