Tuesday, March 28, 2017
Andersonville Man Sentenced To 24 Years For Attempted Murder of Police Officers
From a court advocate:
"This didn't happen in Uptown. It was nearby and I thought your readers might be interested in the resolution of a violent incident that had a lot of publicity. The case was followed by both the 19th District and 20th District court advocates.
On Valentine's Day 2015, Thomas Thompson, 33, shoplifted vitamins and supplements from the Walgreen's store at Clark & Catalpa (5440 North). 20th District police officers, Joseph Groh and Mark Czapla, happened to be in the parking lot when he left the store. He was followed outside by the manager on duty, Ray Robinson. Mr. Robinson alerted the officers about what was going on, and they tried to stop him.
Mr. Thompson is a large man, 6-3 and 250 pounds. He fought with the officers and managed to disarm one of them. He fired a shot at them that missed. He then pulled the trigger 2 more times, but the magazine had fallen out of the gun. It did not fire. Witnesses said they heard him say he wanted to kill them, and the Walgreen's security cameras taped the whole thing.
It took 4 men to subdue him: the officers, Mr. Robinson, and another customer who was in his car in the parking lot. Backup units were summoned and 20th District officers arrested Mr. Thompson. Officers Groh and Czapla were hurt and taken to Illinois Masonic. They both required hospitalization for their injuries. One officer testified that he still has pain caused by the injuries he received that night.
There was a 3-day bench trial in front of Judge Michael Claps at 26th & Cal. Mr. Thompson was found guilty of 2 counts of attempted murder of a police officer and 1 count of disarming a police officer.
Judge Claps sentenced him to 24 years in prison for each count of attempted murder, and 2 years for disarming a police officer. The sentences will be served concurrently rather than consecutively. So it's essentially a term of 24 years. By law, he must serve at least 85% of that sentence, depending on his behavior while incarcerated. That boils down to 20.4 years. He received credit for 773 days time served.
He will have 3 felony convictions on his record and will be incarcerated for at least another 18 years. He will then have to serve 3 years of Mandatory Supervised Release.
Joy Repella of the State's Attorney's office (Community Justice Center) led the prosecution. Unfortunately, Mr. Robinson passed away of cancer before he could learn of the sentencing. He died a hero, having done much to save the lives of the officers by helping subdue Mr. Thompson after he attacked them."