Friday, December 11, 2009

John Haley Sentencing Today

Today was the sentencing part of the trial of John Haley, who was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in October for pushing Du Doan into the waters of Montrose Harbor while the elderly man fished. Court advocates from the 23rd District and from the Asian American Institute attended the sentencing and this is what we heard from one of them:

"Today was a really emotional day in court. It started with several witnesses who testified as to prior crimes John Haley had committed: A guitar teacher who was jumped from behind and kicked and beaten in 2000; a CPD detective who found cocaine, $2300 in cash, marijuana and lots of pills on Haley in 2001; and someone who was beaten nearly to death by Haley and his friends (using 40 oz beer bottles and barbells) at a party in 2005 when he objected to their racism.

Then the Doan family made victim impact statements. One daughter read hers and said that while no one was a winner in this, at least Haley's family could get to see him, and all her family could see was her father's headstone, and empty chair at the dinner table. Another daughter talked about the stress of having to go through the funeral and trial, and how it had affected her schooling and the family's financial health. A son told about his father's life: he had fought along side American soldiers in Vietnam and survived bullet wounds. When the war was over, he had no choice but to come to America and set up a life here, even though he spoke no English. He left his wife and son in Vietnam until he could afford to send for them. He survived all this, only to drown after being pushed into the water by John Haley.

Then Haley's family spoke on his behalf. You could see that they were suffering, too. His mother said his father had been an alcoholic and that John followed in his footsteps. She spoke of what a different person he became after he stopped drinking, right after the death of Mr. Doan, and how she felt she finally had her son back. Haley's wife spoke of the difference in him now, how devoted he was to his infant son and how he takes care of him. His going to prison has put his family in dire financial straits and she doesn't know how she'll afford to raise their son without John's income. They all apologized to the Doan family, and in his statement, John did too.

The big question was whether the drug conviction should extend the penalty for involuntary manslaughter from 1-5 years to 2-10 years. Judge Kirby decided that it should, and cited the testimony from the trial phase where other fishermen had been pushed into the water by Haley in the weeks prior to Mr. Doan's drowning. He also said that Haley was "the epitome of a coward" because he attacked from behind.

The judge said that due to the cowardly nature of the attacks, including the two testimonies today, he would give the maximum extended sentence of ten years in prison, the most he could, minus time served.

It was a sad day. No one "won." Both families have been suffering since the attack. Just a tragedy, all around, for no good reason."

Update: Read about it in the Tribune and Sun-Times. Another Sun-Times article is here.


  1. a sad case indeed. often times, the story behind the case is just as sad as the case itself.

  2. Dreadful, sad story for sure. The sentence seems rather light considering?

  3. He could have gotten Murder 1 or 2, but the jury decided on involuntary manslaughter. The judge gave the harshest sentence he could, considering.

  4. Its sick that this scumbag/sociopath will be out of prison in about 2 years with time considered served. That seems terribly light for killing a man and laughing about it. He should have gotten first degree and receive 40.
    That is the problem w/ liberal juries in Cook County.

  5. How wonderful he is a 'changed' man after murdering an innocent person, after what sounds like a lifetime of being a bully. Perhaps he can spend the next 10 years helping others to see the errors of their ways?

  6. He has a history and deserves 2nd degree and spent his life behind bars.

    BTW there is lots of help for alcoholics, no excuse. He's violent and drinks.

    He laughed when he did it. He will kill again when he is out.

  7. I think Helen and all her supporters will back me up on this...

    The guy was asking for it...if he didn't want to be drowned he shouldn't have been fishing at Montrose Harbor. How could one expect a mischiev
    ous young man to know the fisherman couldn't swim. It was all his own fault he was killed. The poor kid should have been aquitted.

  8. I don't know if he will kill again when he gets out, but he was destined to eventually kill someone with his history of violence.

    I'm not a proponent of the "drug war", but I'm glad this turd had a prior record the Judge could hold against him.

    I skimmed the Illinois Compiled Statutes briefly to try to figure out when this guy may be eligible for parole or release.

    My eyes started to glaze over regarding the rules regarding parole eligibility and "good time".

    In any case I hope he spends a good deal of time as a guest of the State. There are way too many people in prison in this country, but this asshole ain't one of them.

  9. The minimum for involuntary manslaughter is 1 year? I understand this is a very different charge from murder, but still 1 year for killing someone seems like a joke. Luckily this freak got the maximum.

  10. Actually, the minimum sentence is probation.

    The sentence falls under the 1 day stricken from the sentence for each day served rule, so he'll be out in five years. Hardly enough, in my book.

    I feel for his family, but I'd like to have seen him be incarcerated until he's the age of Du Doan, his victim. See how valuable he thinks an old man's life is then.

  11. He was sentenced to 10 years, which means he will serve 5, with 2 years of time considered served in Cook County Jail. So, he will be free to roam the streets of Uptown to commit more violent crime in 3-years.

    I do not feel for the offender's family one bit. I feel bad for the victim's family.

    Put a couple of bleeding hearts and a couple of folks who hate the police/system on the jury and an innocent and defenseless man's life is equated to 3 years in prison. If this case was in DuPage County he would have gotten murder 1 with 45 to life.

  12. John got what he deserved, actually he got lucky. Good thing his family went broke to pay for his defense.

    And, BRADLEY, no one, not even a fisherman at the pier, is required to know how to swim. However, basic rules of life, keep your hands to yourself and respect your elders.

    I'd like to hope that John will stay off the booze. However I think he will start drinking again on his release date. Not to mention hook back up with his degenerate friends.

    John is a man with no land in prison. Skin heads hate him and he looks too much like on for everyone elses liking. Good luck!

  13. John's not a monster, but definitely made some bad decisions. He was always a good friend to me anyways when we used to hang out. Hopefully he'll use the time in prison as a wake up call.