One quiet Sunday afternoon, Pat McGurn receives a shocking recorded phone call from the Cook County jail in Illinois informing him that his brother’s killer has been released from custody. Pat can’t believe it. None of it makes sense. His brother, Denny, was run down, killed by not only a man who is an illegal alien but also a convicted felon-and now the man is walking free.

Death in Chicago is a narrative of Pat McGurn’s brother’s death and the glaring misdeeds of so called justice. Over the course of twenty-five days, Pat fights to keep Denny’s killer behind bars, Denny had only been gone two months following the tragedy in Logan Square on Chicago’s north side. How could the man responsible for his death be allowed to leave the country?

The deeper Pat digs into the case, the more he comes to realize the decision to release Denny’s killer is completely political and orchestrated by the Cook County Board of Commissioners. He won’t let them get away with blood on their hands-his brother’s blood. He’ll find a way to return justice with the help of Viet Nam Marine veterans.

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Death in Chicago A sanctuary City is a compelling story of seeking justice in 2011 with the readability of a detective novel. If you like vigilante justice you will love this book.

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Chapter 1

DAY ONE

Pat McGurn was at home reading a book when his cell phone rang, shortly after 2:00 p.m. The caller ID read, “Cook County Sheriff,” but there was only a recorded message: “This call is to inform you that Raul Orizaga was released on bond this morning, at 10:00 a.m.”

The book fell to the floor. Pat listened, dumbfounded, barely able to contain his rage. Orizaga had killed his brother, Denny, almost three months before, and now the son of a bitch —an illegal—was going to flee to Mexico.

“Okay,” he said grimly. “The first step’s to confirm this and, the second, to notify Denny’s daughters.”

Plan of action in place, Pat called his niece, Judy, a Cook County deputy.

“Uncle Pat, what’s going on?”

“Judy, sounds like you’re watching the Sox game,” said Pat, his voice straining from the effort of trying to sound normal.

“Yeah, out with a few friends up at Kerry’s on Western. So, everything’s okay?”

“Well, I’m fine, I guess, but I just got a call from the jail —they let Orizaga out!”

“You’re kidding! Wait a second —they had a hold on him, right?”

“That’s what Murphy, the Assistant State’s Attorney, said. Look, I need
confirmation—can you make a call to verify?”

“For sure —I’ll call you right back.”

Pat knew Judy had friends on weekend duty at the County jail. If they confirmed the
release, he’d have to call Denny’s daughter, Christy and Nataly first and, later, his siblings —Catherine, Eddy, Marie and Therese.

Slowly, he pulled himself out of his armchair, suddenly remembering the detective who had notified Christy the night of Denny’s death. Pat went down into the basement to look at the file he had kept on the case. Barely glancing at his model train workshop or at the trains ready to roll at the push of a button, he headed towards a vertical file cabinet. Sure enough, there was a record of his phone call to Detective Skolickwitcz, the day after the murder, for specifics on the arrest. He skimmed through the police report as well as through an article in The Daily Globe. The article re-awakened all the sadness that had descended on the entire family.

It was unbelievable that his brother had been run over and dragged by an illegal alien! Denny, a commercial insurance broker, was crossing Kedzie Avenue in Logan Square when it happened, heading for Hacienda Leon restaurant to enjoy a Mojito with the owner who happened to be one of his clients. The phone rang again, interrupting his musings.

“Uncle Pat? Yep, he’s out. Looks like the brother made the bond in cash.”

“Thanks, Judy. Anything else? Like who handled it and receipted the money?”

“My source —a guy named Steve—works in E wing down there, and I got him on his cell, you know. He just said, ‘Raul Orizaga released a few hours ago.’ Look, I know one of the supervisors. I’ll call him tomorrow and see if he’ll talk. You know these people are—well, you know—pretty guarded.”

“Judy, that would help big-time! I’ll wait till tomorrow and call Eileen Murphy, the Assistant State’s Attorney who prosecuted Orizaga—we met her during the discovery process.”

“Any time, Uncle Pat. And, hey, this really is bad news. I’m thinking somebody screwed up.”

“That’s right, because there was a hold or detainer on the creep, and we were promised he couldn’t make bond. Okay, be seeing you.”

Now that the worst had been confirmed, Pat tried phoning Detective
Skolickwitcz, but he was off and wouldn’t be in until the next day. Next, he called all the
family members, including his son, Michael, and daughter, Molly. Needless to say, they were shocked at the news. Meanwhile, Pat’s wife, Clare, had returned from a luncheon at the Oak Forest Country Club. A former youth officer and legal investigator, Clare knew a thing or two about the courts. She had all sorts of contacts in her present role as Senior Investigator at the Illinois Grievance Commission where her main responsibility was investigating attorney misconduct.

“Pat, let me get this straight. You got a recorded message?”

“That’s it, and it simply said he posted at, I don’t know, I think at 10:00 a.m.

Like I said, Judy confirmed, so he’s out.”

“On his way to Mexico, I bet,” said Clare, her mouth twisted in disgust.

Pat put his arms around her.

“Here, Honey. Give me a hug. This is crazy. You know I’m going to fight this.”

“You mean, we’re going to fight this,” said Clare, holding him tightly.

“When have you ever had to face anything alone since I met you? Let’s go down to Zorba’s for dinner tonight – I think we need some downtime.”

Zorba’s had been Denny’s favorite restaurant in Greek Town, so Pat was pleased with the suggestion. Because of the continuing late August heat wave, he made reservations for 6:30 p.m. on the restaurant rooftop which would be much cooler than having a table inside. Once they were seated, they ordered drinks. Pat’s mood improved considerably, especially as Clare, elegant in her sundress, looked radiant; in fact, her laughing Irish eyes made her seem twenty years younger. From the vantage point of the rooftop, they enjoyed the view overlooking the downtown Chicago, with the spires of Old St. Patrick’s Church just a few blocks away.

“It’s a great town, Clare, don’t you think?”

Clare smiled and took Pat’s hand re-assuringly.

Yes, Chicago was a great town and it would be again, once justice had been returned to the McGurn family.

DAY ONE

Pat McGurn was at home reading a book when his cell phone rang, shortly after 2:00 p.m. The caller ID read, “Cook County Sheriff,” but there was only a recorded message: “This call is to inform you that Raul Orizaga was released on bond this morning, at 10:00 a.m.”

The book fell to the floor. Pat listened, dumbfounded, barely able to contain his rage. Orizaga had killed his brother, Denny, almost three months before, and now the son of a bitch —an illegal—was going to flee to Mexico.

“Okay,” he said grimly. “The first step’s to confirm this and, the second, to notify Denny’s daughters.”

Plan of action in place, Pat called his niece, Judy, a Cook County deputy.

“Uncle Pat, what’s going on?”

“Judy, sounds like you’re watching the Sox game,” said Pat, his voice straining from the effort of trying to sound normal.

“Yeah, out with a few friends up at Kerry’s on Western. So, everything’s okay?”

“Well, I’m fine, I guess, but I just got a call from the jail —they let Orizaga out!”

“You’re kidding! Wait a second —they had a hold on him, right?”

“That’s what Murphy, the Assistant State’s Attorney, said. Look, I need
confirmation—can you make a call to verify?”

“For sure —I’ll call you right back.”

Pat knew Judy had friends on weekend duty at the County jail. If they confirmed the
release, he’d have to call Denny’s daughter, Christy and Nataly first and, later, his siblings —Catherine, Eddy, Marie and Therese.

Slowly, he pulled himself out of his armchair, suddenly remembering the detective who had notified Christy the night of Denny’s death. Pat went down into the basement to look at the file he had kept on the case. Barely glancing at his model train workshop or at the trains ready to roll at the push of a button, he headed towards a vertical file cabinet. Sure enough, there was a record of his phone call to Detective Skolickwitcz, the day after the murder, for specifics on the arrest. He skimmed through the police report as well as through an article in The Daily Globe. The article re-awakened all the sadness that had descended on the entire family.

It was unbelievable that his brother had been run over and dragged by an illegal alien! Denny, a commercial insurance broker, was crossing Kedzie Avenue in Logan Square when it happened, heading for Hacienda Leon restaurant to enjoy a Mojito with the owner who happened to be one of his clients. The phone rang again, interrupting his musings.

“Uncle Pat? Yep, he’s out. Looks like the brother made the bond in cash.”

“Thanks, Judy. Anything else? Like who handled it and receipted the money?”

“My source —a guy named Steve—works in E wing down there, and I got him on his cell, you know. He just said, ‘Raul Orizaga released a few hours ago.’ Look, I know one of the supervisors. I’ll call him tomorrow and see if he’ll talk. You know these people are—well, you know—pretty guarded.”

“Judy, that would help big-time! I’ll wait till tomorrow and call Eileen Murphy, the Assistant State’s Attorney who prosecuted Orizaga—we met her during the discovery process.”

“Any time, Uncle Pat. And, hey, this really is bad news. I’m thinking somebody screwed up.”

“That’s right, because there was a hold or detainer on the creep, and we were promised he couldn’t make bond. Okay, be seeing you.”

Now that the worst had been confirmed, Pat tried phoning Detective
Skolickwitcz, but he was off and wouldn’t be in until the next day. Next, he called all the
family members, including his son, Michael, and daughter, Molly. Needless to say, they were shocked at the news. Meanwhile, Pat’s wife, Clare, had returned from a luncheon at the Oak Forest Country Club. A former youth officer and legal investigator, Clare knew a thing or two about the courts. She had all sorts of contacts in her present role as Senior Investigator at the Illinois Grievance Commission where her main responsibility was investigating attorney misconduct.

“Pat, let me get this straight. You got a recorded message?”

“That’s it, and it simply said he posted at, I don’t know, I think at 10:00 a.m.

Like I said, Judy confirmed, so he’s out.”

“On his way to Mexico, I bet,” said Clare, her mouth twisted in disgust.

Pat put his arms around her.

“Here, Honey. Give me a hug. This is crazy. You know I’m going to fight this.”

“You mean, we’re going to fight this,” said Clare, holding him tightly.

“When have you ever had to face anything alone since I met you? Let’s go down to Zorba’s for dinner tonight – I think we need some downtime.”

Zorba’s had been Denny’s favorite restaurant in Greek Town, so Pat was pleased with the suggestion. Because of the continuing late August heat wave, he made reservations for 6:30 p.m. on the restaurant rooftop which would be much cooler than having a table inside. Once they were seated, they ordered drinks. Pat’s mood improved considerably, especially as Clare, elegant in her sundress, looked radiant; in fact, her laughing Irish eyes made her seem twenty years younger. From the vantage point of the rooftop, they enjoyed the view overlooking the downtown Chicago, with the spires of Old St. Patrick’s Church just a few blocks away.

“It’s a great town, Clare, don’t you think?”

Clare smiled and took Pat’s hand re-assuringly.

Yes, Chicago was a great town and it would be again, once justice had been returned to the McGurn family.

DAY TWO

The next morning, Pat drove Clare to the train station at 91st Street. It was only a short distance from their home, but Pat, a retired teacher, always insisted on giving Clare a ride. Usually, she would wait with him in the car until they saw the lights flashing at the 95th Street station; that was Clare’s cue to kiss him goodbye and make for the train, leather brief case in hand.

She enjoyed her work, but had many responsibilities which often left her drained at the end of the day. By the time she had finished interviewing witnesses, writing memos and pouring over the fine print of legal documents, she was exhausted. Pat was only too happy to lighten her load in whatever way he could.

Once back home, he called Eileen Murphy. He and Clare had met her several times now, and they found her both approachable and sensitive to their concerns. She picked up right away.

“Oh, Pat. Let’s see, the court date is Thursday. Is that why you’re calling?”

“No, Eileen—my guess is the court date may be a waste of time.”

Voice shaking, Pat went over the events of the previous day.

“Oh, my God—this is unbelievable!” exclaimed Eileen. There was no
mistaking the shock in her reaction. She told the McGurn family two months earlier that Immigration Custom Enforcement or ICE would pick Orizaga up and place him in a federal detention facility if a $25,000.00 bond was produced.

“I’ll head to court right away and get my judge to start warrant proceedings to get Orizaga back. I’ll also change the bond and send out deputies to look for him.”

“Hey, Eileen, what happened here?” Pat blurted. “This looks like—well, you know—a screw-up.”

“For sure Pat. I had no idea, but let me get back to you, and—who knows?—maybe we can find him.”

Slowly, Pat began cleaning up the breakfast dishes. There was not much to do since it was just him and Clare—they had been “empty nesters” for some time. As he stacked the stainless steel dishwasher, he brooded over “next steps.” He was facing new territory and needed to figure out who he could trust to be of assistance.

Clare, of course, was his main confidante and advisor—always had been. Michael, his lawyer son, would also help. So would his daughter, Molly, and her husband, Frank, both journalists. Eileen Murphy—probably, but she was part of the bureaucracy and had to play the game. Perhaps Clare could get a lead on the lawyer, since she worked for the Illinois Grievance Commission.

As ideas surfaced, Pat jotted down a few notes on some scrap paper. He remembered that Eileen had told the family of Orizaga’s prior felony conviction in 2009.

“Why didn’t they deport this creep the first time? How could they let him out?” he muttered to himself. In all likelihood, some part-timer had failed to look at the sheet. Who was on duty? Wasn’t there a detainer flag? Better call Judy and see who signed the release, he wrote. Then he added, Get out my notes on the Secure Communities Task Force testimony. Pat had given that report three weeks earlier. Who knows? Maybe there was a lead there.

He recalled the emotion from that day when he had recounted, with graphic detail, the tragic event of two months prior. The Department of Homeland Security had commissioned the Task Force that was on a five-city tour to elicit input from various communities. Chicago was the third stop, scheduled after L.A. and Dallas. This Task Force was charged with preparing a report on how best to deal with the growing problem of undocumented immigrants. From press reports in mid-July, Pat had learned of the meeting scheduled in Chicago and had signed up to testify. He figured that the Task Force should hear his testimony. Arriving early, he was scheduled as the second speaker; he would be permitted to give a four-minute speech.

The meeting was held at Haymarket Hall, on Washington Street. When Pat arrived, the place was filled with hundreds of demonstrators, mainly Mexicans. There were also a number of people who appeared to be old 60’s radicals there, along with ten or more Catholic priests. The crowd was extremely noisy and aggressive, carrying signs that read, “STOP DEPORTATIONS AND FUCK ICE.” The scene at Haymarket Hall, complete with heated interruptions and fist pounding, was unsettling, to say the least, but the whole demonstration seemed well-organized. Pat figured that if the demonstrators knew the truth about what happened to his brother, maybe wisdom would prevail.

It took almost twenty minutes for the raucous crowd to settle down. The first speaker was a middle-aged Mexican woman who testified that her husband had been deported some months back, in what she described as a set-up. Hearing her emotional testimony, the crowd again grew angry, even insisting that all cops leave the building. Unprepared for this turn of events, the Task Force seemed to be somewhat intimidated. There were more delays, but, finally, the chair called his name. The noise was deafening, but, determined to have his say, Pat yelled into the microphone, “SILENZIO!” Surprisingly, some four hundred people settled down, and he proceeded, in his best teacher manner, to go over the events of that fateful June 8, 2011. Near the end of his presentation, no one could hear a pin drop.

Pat walked out quietly, followed by two news reporters and a representative of Public Radio, which would broadcast his remarks off and on for the next forty-eight hours. After about ten minutes of interviews, Pat excused himself and said he had to meet someone. He was emotionally drained.

Setting that memory aside, Pat poured himself a cup of coffee. The large red mug— his favorite—gave a touch of ordinariness to the day, something he desperately needed! The whole saga was a real mystery, with all sorts of fuck-ups—maybe going back three years, because of Orizaga’s prior felony. To make this a larger story, he would not only need a journalist, but, more urgently, advice from someone who knew about criminality and alien criminal immigrants. There was a chance, of course, that human error was behind Orizaga’s release, but the signs were pointing to something more sinister.

As he continued compiling an inventory of helpful resources, his phone rang yet again.

“Pat, Eileen Murphy here — here’s the deal. There’s this new ordinance
that effectively lets guys like Orizaga post and get out.”

“Ordinance, you say? What—from the Cook County Board?”

“Yeah, passed a few weeks ago on August 11 —I’m trying to get a copy, but you can download it from the County Board website.”

“Okay, I’ll do that, but what about this detainer you told us about?”

“Well, that’s the point. This ordinance effectively allows the Sheriff to ignore detainers, or I should say, it mandates that he release them if they post bond.”

“Wait, wait. Isn’t this federal law we’re talking here?” objected Pat, unable to believe
what he was hearing.

“Well, yes, one might say that, but it appears that the Cook County commissioners felt they could ignore it.”

“That’s crazy. Was it in the papers?”

“I don’t know. I suppose you could try The Globe or The Chicago Times—or try Googling ‘Cook County and detainers.’”

“I’ll try that, Eileen. Can I call back later?”

“Sure. I want to update you on the new bond and warrant I worked on this morning.”

Abandoning his coffee, which was now cold, Pat got out his Mac Air. Still numb from his exchange with Ellen, he began surfing the net. Eventually, his search produced a news report in The Globe, dated August 12, 2011; it recounted the passing of the ordinance. It was written by Ron Ralston, so Pat sent him an e-mail explaining who he was, leaving his phone number. Ten minutes later, the phone rang.

“Pat McGurn, please.”

“Speaking.”

“You just e-mailed me. Can I ask a few questions? I’m Ralston, from The
Globe.”

“Hi Ron— I was expecting your call.”

“So how do you feel about Mr. Orizaga’s flight?”

Ignoring the question, Pat said, “So you know about Orizaga’s release?”

“Yeah, it’s all over the newsroom. Somebody, probably at Cook County Sheriff Dypsky’s office, left an anonymous message.”

“Well, that’s good. Let the public get up in arms, don’t you think, Ron? Let me
ask a question—”

“Mr. McGurn, I’m supposed to ask the questions.”

“Sure, but I need to know what you know, so c’mon. Let’s start with what you’re going to write.”

“Okay, fair enough. It will go something like this,” said Ralston.

“Ten Cook County commissioners including chief sponsor Vic Varbanov and President Korshak have taken the position that they have no responsibility to enforce federal law. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, will argue that federal law preempts local law with respect to immigration. ICE will also argue that Sheriff Dypsky should have ignored the ordinance and notified ICE of Orizaga’s release within forty-eight hours, as the law requires.”

“Okay,” said Pat. “So now the picture is getting a bit clearer, but what I still don’t get is that, apparently, the Assistant State’s Attorney, Eileen Murphy, had no idea the law had been passed.”

“That’s right, Pat, and I’m guessing none of the other staff attorneys did, either. I also learned that ICE headquarters in Washington is furious about this. I’m trying to obtain a letter that went out to Cook County President Korshak a few hours ago.”

“So may be State’s Attorney g is complicit in all of this?”

“Good bet, but she will have cover—you can bank on it. She got some bald headed guy keeping her out of trouble as her deputy. I think his name is Sheehan. Let me tell you, the whole lot of them— I mean, from Korshak on down—will figure out a cover.”

“Leaving my family and me with nothing but a bunch of hollow condolences,” exclaimed Pat bitterly.

“Well, Pat, at least I can expose some of these shenanigans for you and the general public. But it’s going to take a while, because these people won’t cooperate.”

“Alright, Ron, before you go, tell me what happened last month, when the ordinance was passed; your article gave a good summary, but I want to know the vote and if there was a debate.”

“Well, I really wasn’t there—the story was from a press release. But I did a lot of research—or, I should say, my legman did. We heard that it was rushed through, and that just yesterday they released the vote.”

“Wait a second. Just yesterday, you say?”

“Yeah, they’re supposed to post the minutes within a few days, and it took them a month.”

“Jeez,” Pat said, “I should have followed this. And others wrote it up, too, you say?”

“Oh, yeah. Some new kid at The Sun and another story in The Daily Report, but I’m the one that hounded them on the minutes.”

“What else, Ron?”

“Commissioner Tom Wagner was on Wolf News and said he thought a law suit is inevitable.”

“Think I should call him?”

“Worth a try, I guess.”

“What was the vote?”

“Googan, Giglio Guest and, of course, Wagner voted against it. Riley—a former governor’s nephew— also voted against it. Oh, and one commissioner was absent, and the indicted one—you know, James, the ladies’ man and gambler—voted ‘present.’”

“So, let’s see, ten voted for it and looks like these spineless bastards didn’t want it to go public. Un-fuckin’ believable, as we used to say back in the day. I’ll tell you what, Ron. I’ll give you everything you ask, if you go over some of your notes with me.”

“Really, I shouldn’t be doing this, but here’s what I got. Orizaga spent seventeen months going in and out of the court of this idiot judge named O’Fallon, up in Skokie, between his October 2008 arrest and his release from probation, February 2011. Court personnel never contacted ICE.”

“Hold on—did they have to?”

“Well, yes and no,” Ron said. “O’Fallon and the attorneys knew he was illegal and they also knew immigration enforcement was a federal responsibility. But get this— my legman found a Cook County resolution that somehow gives court personnel permission to ignore federal law.”

And there was more. Ralston had called the press spokesperson at the Chicago ICE office who claimed they had no knowledge of Orizaga until June 8, 2011. That was when a new reporting procedure linked state and FBI criminal history databases with those of the Department of Homeland Security.

“And as you know, ICE is part of that federal agency,” said Ron, his voice
heavy with meaning.

“So when Orizaga got booked the night of your brother’s death, the Feds issued a detainer, probably the next day.”

“Okay,” said Pat, trying to absorb the information overload.

“So now I see why the Feds were not contacted the first time. Let’s be clear. Denny would be alive today because Orizaga would have been deported. We now can point the finger at no less than twenty Cook County assholes! Pardon the French, Ron.”

“We contacted Hunter-Goss at the State’s Attorney, and her press gal, Suzy Sorich, said it was not their responsibility, period, and she hung up. I also left a message for your prosecutor, Murphy, but she won’t talk to me, I’m sure. A detainer was definitely issued on June 9, 2011, and Sheriff Dan Dypsky knew about it. It would have been in Orizaga’s file when he was released.”
“Did you call Dypsky?”

“Never returned my calls. Word is out that he fired his press guy, most likely over this.”

“Did he hire a new guy?”

“Yeah, we think it’s some 19th Ward family friend named Guy Grodecki. I plan to call him in a day or two, but doubt he’ll be helpful.”

“Look, Ron, I owe you for this, but let me get back to you. I’m going to call Murphy— I got to tell you, I don’t think she knows about the judge up at Skokie Branch, or this other stuff.”

“Good point, but I’d bet a grand Hunter-Goss’s people will get to her and read her the facts of life.”

“Yeah, good bet, but when she told me about the ordinance it seemed like she was blindsided on this.”

“Look, Pat, the question is why didn’t she know about the ordinance? I mean, she shouldn’t have to follow County Board proceedings, but Hunter-Goss surely should have known, as well as her deputy, Sheehan, who was there for the vote! They should have issued a memo to her. Four hundred or more Assistant States Attorneys and Murphy could have gone back to court and increased the bond to, say, a million!”

“So your article comes out tomorrow, Ron?”

“Yeah, I’ll focus on your concerns, the vote, and the refusal to comment on the part of those responsible. Maybe later, say in a few days, I’ll get into to some of the other stuff like the prior conviction, so I’ll be in touch. And, Pat— I’m real sorry about your brother.”

After the call ended, Pat went over the chronology of events, making sure that
he had not omitted anything of importance. Then, when he had a clear idea as to what he wanted to say, he phoned Eileen Murphy.

“Eileen, Pat here. You won’t believe what I just learned,” said Pat as he launched into his summary of the conversation with Ralston.

“My goodness, Pat. Well, politics are out of my jurisdiction,” protested Eileen, a faint touch of humor in her voice.

“What about your boss, Hunter-Goss?”

“Well, aahh, you know I have to be careful, because things can get—you
know.”

“Okay, Okay, I get it,” said Pat, frustration rising. Ralston had been right. Someone
had already gotten to Eileen.

“Sounds like you were called to the principal’s office,” he observed.

“She’s real political, Pat, so you have to be careful.”

“No— you have to be careful. I understand. I bet she’s part of this cover-up.”

There was an awkward silence.

“Pat, you know I can’t….”

“Yeah, I know. Well, what can you tell me?” said Pat, barely conscious of the
aggressive edge to his voice.

“Well, I increased the bond to 500K, and there is now a warrant out for his arrest. They sent Cook County Sheriff’s deputies and Chicago cops to look for him. I haven’t heard anything yet.”

“Fat chance! C’mon. You and I know he’s long gone, for God’s sake.”

“Yeah, probably, but that’s all I could do,” Murphy continued, almost apologetically.

“You know there’s a court date Thursday, right?” she continued.

“Sure, but why bother? We both know Orizaga skipped.”

“Well, the court will convene, with or without him.”

“Maybe some of my family should be there, but if Orizaga doesn’t show, that
will further add insult to injury.”

“I’m so sorry, Pat.”
Pat, barely hearing her, looked at his notes.

“Okay, let me ask about the ordinance.”

“Pat, we already went over that.”

“I know, but did you ask other prosecutors, judges, supervisors—you know,
talk around the courthouse—if any others knew about this ordinance?”

There was dead silence.

“C’mon, Eileen. Help me out.”

“Well, Pat, I got to tell you—no one knew, not even Judge Martin, the guy assigned
to your case.”

“So no memo—what about that bald assistant to Hunter-Goss? Sheehan, I think his name. I’m told he’s always at these Cook County Board meetings.”

“I didn’t see anything from him, Pat.”

“Jeez, this looks worse than the Chicago Public School boondoggles I put up with at the Board of Education for thirty years. I’m going to pursue this and, for starters, find out about this idiotic ordinance.”

“Pat, I’m with you, but you know it’s difficult.”

“Hey, Hunter-Goss really screwed this up, along with ten commissioners—Dypsky, Korshak, and God knows who else. I mean, there must be other illegal felons in the system, right?”

“I just had the one, Pat, but you’re probably right. The talk around here is that a whole bunch more got out.”

“Think Hunter-Goss will talk to me?”

“She won’t talk to you. Trust me.”

“Oh, and do you think Judge Martin or the bond judge, Santiago, knew Orizaga
had a prior felony conviction?”

“Well, for sure Martin did, because it came up, back in July—I think you were there. And the Rice girl—I doubt she told the bond judge of Orizaga’s prior felony.”

“Rice? Who’s that”?

“Oh, she’s new here and was assigned to the bond hearing. I got the file after that.”

“So a wet-behind-the-ears new kid agrees to a low bond for an illegal prior-
convicted felon who then kills my brother.”

“Well, that’s one way to put it, I guess, but we all thought the detainer was sufficient.”

“Maybe this guy, Judge Santiago, knew something you didn’t—that the ordinance
was coming down the pike.”

Again, that deafening silence.

“Okay. Thanks, Eileen—please call if you have anything.”

“You bet,” she said but her words sounded flat.

“What a bunch of bullshit!” muttered Pat as he clicked the “End Call” button on his
phone.

Here it was, the end of August, and his brother had been dead almost three months. These clowns had let Orizaga walk, and only God knew how many other illegals were out there hurting people. Noting that his cell battery was low, he connected the charger and turned again to his Mac Air.

He was curious about Cook County State’s Attorney Hunter-Goss’ background. If his memory served him well, this was her first County office. A quick search revealed she had been elected in 2008. Prior to that, she had run the Gang Crimes Unit. Pat also recalled she served on the City Council from the Austin community on the West Side.

“Wonder if she ever prosecuted anyone?” he said out loud. He needed to
know the players and everything about them. Though Eileen may have overlooked a few things, his gut told him not to hold her responsible because there were bigger fools out there that owed his family explanations. Even if it was the last thing he did on this earth, he planned to go after every one of those sons o’bitches….

Pat’s thoughts turned to his long time friend and mentor, Professor Joe Vanderbiezen. Well into his 70’s, he was still as sharp as a tack and was a long-time vocal critic of the Chicago and Cook County machines. Joe would have read Ralston’s article by noon the next day—that would be the best time to call him and get his take on the foolish ordinance. He was certain it involved corrupt political machine shenanigans of some sort, and Joe would be the one to understand them.

DAY THREE

When Eileen called the next day, she had nothing new to report. Pat could have given her a hard time, but then reasoned that she most likely had a heavy caseload. Moreover, although there was something shady about the goings on at the Cook County Board, it was unlikely she was involved. Instead of venting his frustration, he calmly informed her that he had decided to contact Detective. He had been the first person to notify his niece, Christy, of her father’s death; it would stand to reason that he could be a part of the task force that had gone after Orizaga.

“Say, did you read Ralston, this morning, Eileen?”

“Didn’t have to. It’s all over our place. My boss is really angry.”

“I’m glad to hear it—I’m going to call this copper.”

“Pat, as I recall from last June, he works the afternoon watch. They went out late yesterday, and if they got Orizaga, I would’ve heard about it.”

Just as he was about to hang up, Pat remembered something.

“Okay, Eileen, let’s stay in touch. Oh, and by the way, what about a federal warrant so the FBI can look for this guy?”

“Well, I was going to get into that later, because going that route could take time.”

“Wait a second, Eileen. Are you telling me that you have been in touch with the FBI?”

Pat, who until then had been sitting on his deck, enjoying the tranquility of his garden, stood up abruptly, almost turning over his chair.

“Well, yes and—”
“Hold on, Eileen. Look, please don’t hold back anything!”

“Pat, there’s some things the Bureau wants to keep ‘need-to-know.’”

“That’s nonsense and you know it. Now, what’s going on?”

“Okay, getting a federal warrant can only follow a local warrant, which we have. An agent has to prepare an affidavit. I will be the chief source. After that, a federal court date is set, and a federal judge issues the warrant. Then agents can look for Orizaga in all fifty states while working with Mexican authorities.”

“Timeline?”

“Could take a few weeks, Pat.”

“Okay, this whole process is a joke. Look, sorry for the outburst, but I need all the information you have. Can you promise that?”

“Will try, Pat.”

His conversation with Eileen had left him drained. Had he not badgered her, he would have been completely unaware of the latest developments and of the time frame involved in securing a federal warrant. Everything took too long; no one seemed to have a sense of urgency, even Eileen whom he believed to be on his side. Bracing himself for further frustration, Pat picked up the phone and called Area Three Detective Division, Chicago Police Department.

“Skolickwitcz here.”

“Detective, this is Pat McGurn. You were the guy assigned to my brother’s killer. You took five or six weeks to complete the report, and I was a day away from blabbing to your supervisor and going to the press. Now are we clear?”

Pat made no effort to hide the irritation in his voice.

“Yeah,” came the indifferent reply. “

So you’re the brother that’s been calling the State’s Attorney—”

“Look, how d’you say your name, Detective?”

“Just call me Alphy.”

“Alphy?”

“Well, nobody can say my name, see? So they call me Alphabet—now it’s Alphy.”

“Okay, whatever, Alphy. Now you went looking for Orizaga, right?”

“Yeah, with Sergeant Skeeter and a guy guy from the Sheriff.”

“Well, you have any luck?”

“We talked to his brother who said Raul lived in the basement. He showed us a hot plate and a bed—said the brother comes and goes.”

“Comes and goes,” Pat repeated, unable to believe what he was hearing.

“Look, we’re going to go back and check this out, but I only work afternoons. Maybe some of the other shifts will stop by, but we’ve a manpower shortage—you know, courtesy of the new mayor.”

“You knew he was illegal when they caught him the night Denny was killed right?”

“Well, we figured and the Feds knew to and they issued the detainer.”

“And you didn’t think to call Immigration and Customs Enforcement?”

“Didn’t have to.”

“What d’you mean?”

“Well, like I said the Feds issued a detainer. When a guy is booked—like this Orizaga— the Illinois State Police get notified, and somehow the Feds can check. And if a guy is illegal, they issue a detainer.”

“So this policy is new?”

“Yeah. Before, we were told not to call the Feds if we figured a bad guy illegal.”

“Really?”

“Yeah. I guess the word went out to treat these Mexicans like they were citizens. Nobody I know ever called the Feds.”

“I gotta look into this, Alphy.”

“Hey man, don’t let on where you heard it!”

“Lips are sealed,” said Pat, shaking his head in disgust. Fucking goof ball and one of Chicago’s finest, to boot.

“Look, I have to go. If you learn something, give me a call, okay? Here’s my cell.”

“You got it, Mr. McCraw.”

“McGurn, Alph. McGurn”

“Got it.”

By now, Pat needed a beer and a change of scene. The flowers on his deck had
begun to overpower him with their fragrance, and he had the start of a migraine. It was still early in the afternoon, but he headed for Ruth’s on Western, hoping that the walk—or the beer— would clear his head. A ‘Nam vet named Dooley was playing The Band songs on the jukebox. On came “The Weight” and the familiar lyrics to, “Take a Load off Fannie.” The song somehow relaxed Pat.

“Hey, Slim, gimme a pint of Molanger, please, and get Dooley a backup.”

“Sure. How you doing, Pat?” asked the bartender who was anything but slim. His
300 lb. frame loomed over his customers like some hulk from a comic book. He served up two rounds of Molanger, the thick foamy head mounding over the top of the beer mugs the way his customers liked it.

“Not so good. You won’t believe what happened Sunday.”

Pat went over the last couple of days, while Slim listened intently. He was the
neighborhood “confessor,” serving up therapy with a dose of booze—or the other way round!

“You gotta be fuckin’ kidding! What you gonna do?”

“Tonight, I’m going to research this ordinance, and call Riley, our former sainted governor’s nephew or maybe this guy, Wagner.”

“Wagner—who’s he?”

“Commissioner Wagner—he was the outspoken one— got a lot of ink because he thought the ordinance was bad news, Slim.”

“Why not call Commissioner Riley? He’s got all the clout, you know, on account of his name,” chimed in Dooley, the only other patron. He was sitting on the stool next to
Pat’s hunched over his beer mug. The pale golden lager had little flavor— not much better than Drews Light, but twice the price. Not the type of product one would expect from the famous German brewery, but then, it was probably packaged in the good ol’ USA.

“I got to tell ya, Dools,” slurred Pat, now into his second beer. He had skipped
lunch and the alcohol had gone straight to his head.

“I always hated this clout stuff, but I’ll call Riley. Read today’s paper, Slim?”

“You tellin’ me all this is in the news, Pat?”

“Page two—Ralston in The Globe.”
Dooley put more money into the jukebox, and in a few seconds, Levon was
blaring, “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.” Pat drained his beer mug, placing it heavily on the counter.

“You driving, Pat?” asked Slim, studying his customer over the rims of his
round bi-focals. The glass was as thick as the bottom of a coke bottle.

“Nope, but I’m out of here. Not quite the Molanger I remember—just an inoffensive beer, don’t you think? Thanks for listening, guys.”

And with that, he began the trek home.
Clare was waiting for him in the living room, sitting in the Mission-style armchair closest to the fireplace. From her vantage point, she had a clear view of the front door which she had evidently been watching for some time. Their initial exchange was testy. No, Pat had not heard her call— he’d put the phone on mute after dealing with that fucking goof, Alphy. And, no, he hadn’t received Clare’s text. And as for drinking too much, absolutely not—just two Molanger which tasted like dishwater and left him with a buzz. Clare, still in her work slacks and blazer, had taken off work early because she was worried about the way Pat had reacted to the news of Orizaga’s release. Until then, he had been doing quite well, or as well as could be expected.

“Looks like you could do with a meal!’ said Clare sympathetically. She had been more anxious than annoyed by Pat’s failure to keep in touch with her. Since his brother’s death, he had been preoccupied with seeking justice, and Orizaga’s release was definitely an emotional setback, not only for him but for the whole family.
Dinner was lasagna and a salad Clare had made. They sat out on the deck, side by side, overlooking the long back yard which was ablaze with orange day lilies. Though the sun was beginning to set, neither of them made any effort to close the umbrella over the picnic table. It was good just to relax and go over the events of the day.

“You still got the police report?”

“Sure I do, Clare, but what good is it now that he’s skipped?”

“This could be a long and painful ordeal,” said Clare, looking at him steadily. She reached out for the hand closest to her.

“You know, Pat, some will say, ‘Why bother? Orizaga skipped. Forget about it.’ But I I know you want to fight these people—there’s something terribly wrong here. Given Denny’s view of politicians, he would have agreed with what you’re doing. Of course, I’ll help. I can check on the judge and check out Orizaga’s lawyer as well.”

“Thanks, Clare — I knew I could count on you! The real issue for now is this ordinance. After dinner, I’ll do a Google search and see what I can find.

With little effort at all, Pat found the ordinance at the Cook County website. He couldn’t
believe the absurdity of the document or that ten commissioners had voted for it. They must have known the shit would hit the fan once one of these felons killed someone.

At about 8:00 p.m. the phone rang. It was Ron Ralston, on a deadline with a follow-up story.

“I’m going to recap the ordinance, Pat. I got a quote from Wagner, claiming there’s going to be lawsuits up the you-know-what and another from the Cook County President’s office, claiming it’s the bond court’s fault.”

“Bond court, Ron? What’s Korshak talking about?”

Pat’s raised voice echoed into the kitchen where Clare was in the process of loading their supper plates into the dishwasher. Wiping her hands in her apron, she hurried into the dining room. Pat, clearly agitated, was sitting at the table in front of his lap top, cell phone in hand. He pressed the speaker button so that his wife could hear the conversation. Quietly, Clare pulled out a chair and sat by his side.

“Well, she argues that maybe the bond was set too low.”

“Hey, Ron, that’s bullshit!” exploded Pat, shaking with anger.

“The fucking issue is that she and the other fools ignored the Feds—you know that, Ron! Did you talk to Commissioner Varbanov?”

“Oh, yeah, and he claims it’s all about civil rights and innocents getting deported.”

“Did you remind him about Denny?”

“Yeah,” said Ron with a bitter laugh. “All he did was stammer and say that he was sorry.”

“‘Sorry!—that’s not going to bring back Denny! Who did you speak to in Korshak’s office?”

“Legal Council woman named Inger Nordquist.”

“Did she mention Denny?”

By now, the veins were standing out across Pat’s forehead. Clare looked at him
anxiously, wondering how much more stress he could take. This whole ordeal was taking its toll on him, physically as well as emotionally. The chandelier shone directly on his head, illuminating his thinning hair that now seemed more white than salt and pepper.

“No comment when I asked her.”

“How ’bout States Attorney Hunter-Goss?”

“I told her press gal I wanted a quote, but got no comment.”

“Did you talk to Eileen Murphy?”

“Yeah. Looks like her boss gagged her as well.”

“Look, Ron, print this statement—print everything. Are you ready?”

“Okay. Fire ahead!”

“Pat McGurn will do everything in his power to get to the bottom of Raul Orizaga’s release. If this means reviewing old County agendas, writing letters, or whatever it takes, his family will not rest until those that allowed the convicted felon who killed his brother to flee are held accountable.”

“I’ll print all of that Pat.”

“Say Ron, tell me what’s with Commissioner Varbanov pushing this ordinance? Name sounds Slavic.”

“My editor told me his mother’s from Argentina.”

Pat knew the phone would be ringing after this statement became public, but he didn’t care. Once the conversation ended, he slumped back in his chair, too tired to move. Clare disappeared into the kitchen, returning with a chamomile tea served in a green and beige pottery mug with “Grandfather” inscribed on it—a gift from the kids. Clare put on a Lorena McKenna
album from Ireland.

***
Pat did not sleep well that night. He tossed and turned, awakening Clare several
times. It seemed to her that he was mumbling something, but she couldn’t make out the words. Whatever he was dreaming could not have been pleasant. No doubt he was being haunted by the whole cast of unsavory characters responsible for Orizaga’s release: Shirley Korshak, perhaps, discussing Ralston’s first column with State’s Attorney, Lisa Hunter-Goss; or Hunter-Goss recapping all she knew about the McGurn affair with Korshak. Or perhaps the Cook Country President and States Attorney discussing the new column that would appear the next day….

Her thoughts now racing, Clare imagined how such a conversation would flow.

“Shirley, Lisa here. You got a minute?”

“Sure. Lisa you’re calling about Ralston’s piece today, right?”

“You got it. I’m sure you’re busy, and you can bet we are working a strategy, too. So here’s what I got, Shirley. Well, McGurn has not only called Murphy, but also the detective and he’s talked to Ralston, of course. Oh, yeah, Ralston has most of it and looks like he’s got another column out tomorrow.”

At this news, Korshak utters an expletive unbefitting the Cook County President.

“Hmmm, let me think, Lisa. First, both of us need stock answers when other reporters call — I’ll get Ms. Nordquist on it and you do the same. You know, something like, ‘In the wisdom of the Cook County commissioners, who believe in due process for all people in Cook County, and that includes posting bond…’”

“You bet, Shirley. We can say it was commissioners, because they passed the ordinance. And we followed, right?”

“Well, I don’t know about that because it’s on record that I supported the ordinance, so this will get hot, and who knows what this McGurn’s up to. Okay, Lisa. So Murphy upped the bond, and cops went looking for him. So any luck?”

“Not a chance, Shirley. Everybody knew he’d run. And, oh yeah, Murphy told me he had a prior felony conviction, but no federal detainer was issued as far as she could tell. She also said that since it was federal, it might not be in the file.

“Really, Lisa, tell me more.”
“Well, it’s like this. The Cook County Board passed this resolution in 2007 that strongly urged the State’s Attorney, Sheriff and, frankly, everybody in the criminal justice system not to cooperate with Immigration Custom Enforcement or ICE.”

“So what was this Orizaga charged with in 2008?”

“He was convicted of aggravated DUI in February 2009 and put on probation. Two years later, he was taken off probation and, unfortunately, killed Denny McGurn five months after that.”

“Talk about a perfect storm.”

“Perfect storm, Lisa. You and I know just the right people to bring calm to all concerned. McGurn can make all the noise he want—it won’t mean anything.”

“Won’t mean anything…,” murmured Clare, now in a deep sleep. “Won’t mean anything….

About the Author

introducing Brian McCann

Author career and biography

Brian McCann is a thirty-four year veteran of the Chicago Public Schools and a life-long resident of Chicago. He has spent the last four years pursuing justice for the many citizen victims killed by illegal aliens. This is his first book.

Personal Appearances

Brian McCann has been a guest on Fox News. He's testified to Congress on Capitol Hill.


Contact information

b.cann@sbcglobal.net
773 451 6034