Why wasn't John Wilson, Jr. in prison?
by Robert A. Waters
Everyone who ever met John Wilson, Jr., 38, knew he was a hardened felon. He’d spent seventeen of the last twenty years behind bars. But 8 years into an 11 year sentence, he was released on parole.
Wilson should have been in prison when, according to court documents, he stabbed fourteen-year-old Kelli O’Laughlin to death.
The felony complaint from the Circuit Court of Cook County reads: “On October 27, 2011, Indian Head Park police in response to a 911 call arrived at the residence located in the 6300 block of Keokuk, in Indian Head Park in Cook County, Illinois, and observed that Kelli had been stabbed in the back, neck, and chest. The victim was transported to Adventist Lagrange Memorial Hospital where she was pronounced dead...”
“Investigators from the South Suburban Major Crimes Task Force have now determined that on October 27, 2011 the victim came home from school at approximately 3:40 p.m. That upon entering her home; the defendant confronted the victim, stabbed her multiple times and then dragged her body from the family room to the kitchen. A Chicago Cutlery carving knife with a blade length of approximately 8” was found next to a large blood pool in the family room. This knife had been part of the knife block set on the counter in the kitchen prior to the murder.”
Police reported that the murder was the result of a burglary gone wrong. Wilson allegedly broke into the home and was ransacking it when Kelli arrived home. After murdering her, he was traced through a cellphone he stole from Kelli. DNA was found on items he left at the scene and matched to his profile. He was also identified by several residents who noticed a suspicious character hanging around the neighborhood.
Records from the Illinois Department of Corrections show that Wilson was released on probation in November, 2010.
Wilson's prison record reveals an intractable thug with no regard for the laws of society. (The criminal history shown below doesn’t include unsolved crimes or juvenile crimes--Wilson was arrested the first time when he was 10 and had joined a street gang by the time he was 12.)
Here are some of his major convictions and sentences:
1991: Violation of the Controlled Substances Act. 5 years.
1991: Receiving, possessing, and selling a stolen vehicle. 5 years.
1993: Violation of Controlled Substances Act. 1 year.
1993: Aggravated vehicular hijacking. 7 years.
2001: Aggravated battery of a peace officer. 2 years.
2002: Felony Robbery of a School or Place of Business. 11 years.
The 2002 crime that got him 11 years was one of his typical strokes of genius. Wilson intentionally ran his bicycle into a car driven by a woman. When she got out to check on him, he choked her, then snatched her wallet. The crime netted him $63.00 and, since he was a multiple recidivist, eleven years in prison.
Even his family knew he was dangerous. Shaun Dantzler, his older brother, said: "My little brother is crazy. I told the judge this in Skokie. I told him this already. My little brother has a serious problem." Wilson's grandmother, Ruthie Dantzler, added: "If he did it, throw the book at him."
On the other hand, Kelli O’Laughlin was loving, athletic, and enjoyed playing sports. "She would hang out with everybody," a classmate said. "You could really connect with her." She had a bright future in front of her.
Why was John Wilson out of prison?
All the explanations given by criminologists to justify the parole system make no sense. Convicted violent offenders should serve every second of his or her sentence.
Had that happened, Kelli O’Laughlin would still be alive.