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CASA Making a Difference in Belleville

The Court Appointed Special Advocates, or CASA, serving abused and neglected Children offer speaking programs and education for any group about what CASA is doing and how you can help.

Call 618-234-4278 or email  CASA is located at 110 North High Street, Suite #2, Belleville, IL 62220.

Their website is

Making a difference - one child at a time!


Community Leaders, crime victims and their families, law enforcement, elected officials and concerned citizens all gathered at the East St. Louis City Hall at a day long symposium on violence prevention lead and organized by the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence (ICHV).

Victim speakers and panels joined the Mayor, and expert speakers from law enforcement and national violence prevention groups, and included staff from local programs funded by the Federal Office of Victims of Crime With promises of more programs to come, it was a moving day and a good first start on finding ways to build better networks of caring to reduce the cycles of crime and violence plaguing that downstate community.

Victim participants will be connecting more with and one area suggested that day was a section of the website devoted to COLD CASES and cases that do not get prosecuted that are often SO very painful to victims and their families, attempting to draw more attention to a need to solve these cases and get them moved into more aggressive prosecution in a system often over-burdened.

So we have started the page on COLD CASES and we ask that you send us any such cases to post.

And visit the website for EAST ST LOUIS' "PROJECT HEAVEN"  which is a wonderful program for victims of crime funded by the federal Office for Victims of Crime

UNION COUNTY prepares for National Crime Victims Rights Week

The great victim advocate for Union County is preparing a wonderful program for this year's NCVRW April 13-19, 2008. There will be the annual 5K Run for Victims Rights Awareness on April 12, 2008 followed by a program at Anna High School featuring nationally recognized victim expert speakers.

Contact Amanda at States Attorney Allen's office at 618-833-7216 for more information.

Visit the Shawnee Heartland area victim events - see the government listings at

We have heard about a beautiful and troubling story and are able to share just some of the touching exchange between two families - both victims. Terry Hoyt, mother of young Macon County murder victim Dorianne Warnsley, and the family of Montell Johnson, a dying inmate in Illinois prisons, wrongfully convicted in Decatur of Dorianne's death. Terry is working with prison health care reform advocates to get Montell the proper medical care he needs, and hopefully to get him home to his mother. To offer support to these two families, write to and we will pass on your letters to these families.

UPDATE: Dec. 3, 2007 - Our appeal to Governor Blagojevich has been heard and Montell will be allowed to stay in the hospital and not be returned to the prison. He is down to 70 pounds and has only perhaps months to live. His mother spends most days at his side. Read the blog about the deteriorating condition of this innocent man whose cause has been taken up by the mother of his supposed victim.

Jennifer and -

Thanks so much for writing me back and for whatever you are doing to help Montell and his mother, Jean.

Of course, you may use my name, publish my story or do whatever you need to do.  I wanted JUSTICE for my daughter and her surviving 2 daughters, but never got that.  The legal system doesn't always work, especially for the Victims, as you well know.  Just let me know whatever you might need, ok? I now live in Florida. Please let me help, in any way I possibly can, to get Montell home to his mother.  This is really wrong, as the rat who really murdered my daughter, served less than 6 yrs. and has been free for some time. Again, thanks, and let me know what I can do

Montell is the one who received the Death Penalty in my daughter's murder case, although I know he didn't do it.  I was read the 4 confessions of the guy who did murder her and her baby and they gave him 15-yr Plea Bargain.  Montell is the guy I went to Gov. Ryan for and went before the Prisoner Review Board for, then got his sentence reduced to 40 yrs.  He should be released to his mother, as he is dying.  If there is anything I can do to accomplish that, please let me know. Thank you, I appreciate your time and help.
Terry Hoyt 
(mother of murder victim Dorianne Warnsley)

Terry -

Just a few lines to let you know what's been happening with Montell.  He's been diagnosed as gravely ill and last year he was diagnosed as being in the advanced stages of dementia.  I'm now fighting in the Illinois District Court (Federal) to have him released to me or placed in a facility that can meet his medical needs as well as fighting for better health care for all inmates.  He's unable to do anything for himself.  There are so many inmates dying from lack of health care and Montell has asked me to fight for them and I've promised him I would until the last breath in my body.  We both realize that I might lose him but the battle will not be over. 
Also please continue to pray for me.  My other son Leon has been deployed to Iraq.  My heart is just torn about what my sons are going through.  I always tell everybody that you have always supported me and Montell.  Please give me a call sometimes.  I'm sorry I haven't written you sooner but I been practically out of my mind.  I hope that you are doing better.   I know that God is walking with both of us.  So keep the faith, one day all our troubles will be over and we will receive our just reward from Him. 



For Immediate Release: November 2, 2007

Contact: Jennifer Bishop-Jenkins,, 847-446-7073

              Terry Hoyt, 217-433-2681


Mother of Murdered Daughter Cries Out for Attention From State Leaders to the Horrific Plight of the Dying Man in an Illinois Prison Falsely Imprisoned for Killing Her


Chicago, IL:  Today, Terry Hoyt, the Mother of young Dorianne Warnsley, brutally murdered in downstate Illinois in 1994, issued the following statement about the inexcusable medical neglect at the hands of the scandal-ridden Illinois Department of Corrections Health Care system being suffered by Montell Johnson, falsely convicted and serving a life sentence for her daughter’s murder:


“Montell was falsely convicted' of Dorianne’s murder, although another man confessed 4 times. That man was given a 15-yr. plea bargain and served less than 6 yrs., for shooting my daughter 3 times, beating her with a hammer, and stabbing her with a screwdriver.  Montell was my daughter's friend and I know he did not murder my daughter.  I know who murdered my daughter, as well as the circumstances involved. 


“I have been asked by many people why I fight for Montell Johnson and my answer will always be the same - "He is not guilty of murdering my daughter".  I did not get any justice for my daughter or her children, and certainly do not want revenge.  Montell should be allowed to go home and live his final days with his mother. I am calling on Governor Blagojevich, Attorney General Lisa Madigan, and IDOC Director Roger Walker, to take immediate action before its too late.


“I know that Montell’s mother tries to see him whenever she is allowed, but has been denied visitations for months at a time. He can't even talk anymore because of his deteriorating Multiple Sclerosis, and has been nearly immobile for a long time.  He is starving to death because no one will take the time to feed him.  When his mother is allowed to see him, she feeds him and communicates with him through a code of ABC's she has devised. With his MS, he cannot feed himself nor take care of himself in any manner, yet he is handcuffed to a hospital bed and obviously not being taken care of physically. The handcuffs are causing him severe pain on top of everything else he is suffering. He has been to the hospital in Dixon and Chicago in the last week, having been diagnosed with at leas t four badly infected bedsores to his bones, on his backside.  When told at the Chicago hospital to take him through the Emergency Room, the correctional institute guards immediately drove him back to the Dixon CC. 


“Montell's family has been told that he only has 3-6 months to live, his mother is only allowed to see him 2-3 times per week.  This is outrageous, criminal, inhumane, and cruel and serves no purpose whatsoever.


“I am pleading to all citizens of Illinois, as well as the rest of the country. We have inmates in our “correctional” institutions being abused and dying. 


“My daughter was heinously murdered. I know how it feels to fight for what's right and have the doors shut in your face by the 'system', so I am pleading with you, Governor Blagojevich, Attorney General Madigan, and Director Walker - let Montell get back to the hospital, for surgery he so desperately needs, then home for the last days of his life. He is an innocent man and he has suffered enough. He does not have any more time to wait.”   



For more information on the case of Montell Johnson, please visit:


# # # is a grassroots victims’ rights and advocacy website-based organization concerned with providing information to and empowered voices for all victims of violent crime in Illinois.



Mary Powers, mother of Robert Boviall, contacted us with concerns about her son's recent death near Mattoon, Illinois.  He was shot by in his friend's home when he was showing Robert one of his father's many guns. In fact, the father had 17 loaded, unlocked guns in his home, and the father was not a valid FOID card holder, required for gun ownership in Illinois. Questions remain about the actual circumstances of the shooting, but the juvenile friend has not been charged at all with a crime, and the father has only been charged with minor offenses of possessing weapons without a FOID card. The family is seeking legal advice about a wrongful death suit, but are most concerned about the most minimal charges that the States Attorneys in that county are seeking against the Father. The devastated family does not feel justice is being done in their case.

Here is coverage of the case from the downstate Illinois newspaper, The Herald and Review:

Greenup teen killed in accidental shooting

GREENUP - A 15-year-old boy was killed Thursday by the accidental discharge of a revolver while he and two friends were checking whether the gun was loaded, Coles County Coroner Mike Nichols said Friday.

Robert Donald Boviall Jr. of Greenup was pronounced dead at 6:04 p.m. Thursday at Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center in Coles County about a half an hour after he suffered a head wound from a .22 caliber pistol. The shooting occurred at the home of Boviall's friend, south of Greenup in Cumberland County.

"They were checking to see if the gun was empty. He was in the line of fire when the hammer dropped," Nichols said.

An autopsy performed at Springfield Memorial Hospital on Friday confirmed the accidental nature of Boviall's death as established by Illinois State Police Crime Scene Services and ISP Zone 7 Investigations.

Boviall was a sophomore at Cumberland High School.

According to Russell Ragon, superintendent of the Cumberland School District, school officials learned about the accident during a board meeting Thursday night and quickly assembled a team of counselors through the district's special education cooperative.

Eight outside counselors, along with the high school guidance counselor, were available on the school campus when students arrived Friday morning, according to Ragon.

"They're great in a time of crisis," he said. "This is a pretty tough time."

Meanwhile, a local pastor voluntarily organized an impromptu service outside the school before classes began Friday. Ragon said a large number of students attended this "little memorial and silent prayer time."

"It was pretty awesome to see our kids, the way they responded to that, how many of them went out.

"There's a lot of support out there," Ragon said.

Herb Meeker can be reached at or 238-6869. gets calls all the time from victims of crime and for whom we can see the system has failed in some way. We referred this case to Illinois NAMI in the hopes that advocates who are used to defending the rights of the mentally ill may be able to give this woman some help.

A PLEA FOR HELP FROM a victim in downstate Illinois - as we talked on the phone, we discussed the problem of how victimization is so often targeted at those who have mental health issues, as this victim does, because they are easy targets. Her cry for help:

"On November 20, 2006, when I was hitchhiking through Spring Valley, Illinois, I was raped at knifepoint by a man named Donald C. He sexually tortured me, also stole my purse, but gave it back after I begged him. He was convicted of sexual assault in 1989. In my case, he and his wife lied to the police that it wasn't him, then he changed his story to another lie, that it was consensual and that he didn't order me to do those horrible things. He refused to take a lie detector test. The night of the assault, Sgt. Bill S, who took the report, told me that it wasn't up to him to decide to file charges, that was up to the state's attorney, but the police refused to notify the state's attorney at all and threatened to charge me with harassment if I asked for a copy of my report one more time. They told my father (who used to be a cop) but not me that it was "significant" that I could not identify my rapist in a line-up. The line-up was six black and white photocopies of driver's licenses, and they didn't wear their glasses in the photos. My father told me that I'd identified the policeman's father, when, in fact, I didn't officially identify any of them. I merely said which two looked the most like my rapist. In December 2006, my victim's advocate persuaded the police to turn the files over to the state's attorney's office. His assistant, Mr C, told Kelly, my V.A., that he "didn't like it and would watch him for three years," which is not a substitute for a trial.

Mary's story goes on into horrible detail, including the reasons that because of own mental illness, she was blamed for what happened to her and charges weren't filed against her rapist. And local media focuses on her illness and checkered past, and not the crime committed against her.

The status of the case is now that the rapist failed the lie detector test, and there may be a trial, but Mary is unsure as she has no specifics coming to her. And she claims that the rape test kit was damaged because of the length of time they let it sit unpreserved before testing. Her own mental illness and background has been ruled admissible but not that of the offender. She cannot afford an attorney and is pleading for help.

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