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2 men face charges in suburban Chicago standoff

CHICAGO (AP) - Two men have been charged in connection with a 20-hour standoff this week in a Chicago suburb that police say began as a robbery attempt.

The Chicago Sun-Times cites the Cook County state's attorney's office in reporting that the men were charged Thursday night with attempted murder, home invasion, kidnapping and sexual assault. The newspaper said one was a convicted murderer who was on electronic home monitoring as a condition of his parole. The two were expected to appear in bond court Friday.

The standoff began Tuesday afternoon when police in Harvey responded to a report of a possible home burglary. Two officers were wounded in an initial exchange of gunfire, and the suspects barricaded themselves inside the home with eight hostages - two women and six children.


Chicago man charged in girlfriend's shooting

CHICAGO (AP) - A Chicago man is in jail after his girlfriend was shot in each of her legs during an argument.

Chicago Police say 20-year-old Kenny Scott is charged with attempted first-degree murder in the woman's July 5 shooting.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the woman was shot about 11:20 p.m. during an argument in the West Side Austin neighborhood. She was treated at a local hospital.

The Cook County State's Attorney's Office says Scott has not yet entered a plea. His next court date is Wednesday.

According to the State's Attorney's Office, he is being held in the Cook County Jail without bail.


5-year term for man who threw chair at officer

CHICAGO (AP) - A Chicago-area man has been sentenced to five years in prison for throwing a courtroom chair at a suburban police officer just as jurors in a civil trial announced a verdict in the officer's favor.

A federal judge sentenced 34-year-old Lavelle Watts for assault with a dangerous weapon - in this case, the chair. Thursday's sentencing occurred in the same Chicago building as last year's furniture-throwing incident.

Watts sued Joliet Police Officer Joshua Sawyer for allegedly violating his civil rights during a 2009 arrest. As jurors' decision was announced, Watts launched the chair at Sawyer, cutting his arm. Watts also screamed, "Now we're even!"

Prosecutors wanted a 10-year sentence; the defense asked for two. Watts' attorney, Molly Armour, says she's "disappointed" in the 5-year term but "relieved" it wasn't 10.


1 of 2 men charged in home invasions pleads guilty

ROCKFORD, Ill. (AP) - One of two men accused of breaking into Rockford and Rockton homes and attacking the elderly residents has pleaded guilty to attempted murder and home invasion charges.

Coreyon Brown of Roscoe entered the plea Thursday in Winnebago County Circuit Court for the April 25, 2013, attacks in Rockford and for the May 2, 2013, assault in rural Rockton.

The Rockford Register Star reports ( the 19-year-old Brown faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 34 years in prison. But prosecutors say they will seek up to 60 years in prison at sentencing, scheduled for Oct. 22.

Brown and his alleged accomplice, Cortez Brown, who are not related, were arrested in May 2013 after an investigation by several law enforcement agencies. Cortez Brown's case is pending.


IDOT cuts positions following questions on hiring

CHICAGO (AP) - The Illinois Department of Transportation is eliminating 58 positions that are at the center of a lawsuit alleging questionable hiring practices.

Acting Secretary Erica Borggren said Thursday the move is designed to boost "accountability and restore public trust."

In addition to eliminating "staff assistant" positions, IDOT is creating a board to evaluate hiring, and is continuing a freeze on hiring for positions that can be filled based on political connections.

This year an anti-patronage attorney filed a federal lawsuit seeking an investigation and independent monitor to oversee employment practices at IDOT.

That followed a 2013 Better Government Association report saying Quinn and predecessor, ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich, hired as many as 200 "staff assistants" without adhering to rules prohibiting political considerations and without properly offering the jobs to the general public.


Ryan says he'd love to see Romney run again

CHICAGO (AP) - Congressman Paul Ryan is weighing a presidential bid but says he would love to see Mitt Romney run again.

The former Massachusetts governor and presidential nominee has repeatedly denied any plans for a third campaign for president. Instead, he's praising his former running mate as a potential presidential candidate in 2016.

Romney and Ryan met in Chicago on Thursday night for their first joint public appearance since their unsuccessful bid for the White House two years ago.

Romney interviewed Ryan about his new book, "The Way Forward: Renewing the American Idea."

Ryan says he will wait until after the midterm elections to decide whether to run. In the meantime, the Wisconsin Republican warns that President Barack Obama will "poison the well" on immigration compromise if he takes any unilateral action.


Sewer blast launches manhole covers; 1 injury

BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) - Officials in a small town in southwestern Illinois town are trying to figure out what caused a sewer explosion that sent manhole covers flying so high they damaged power lines.

According to the Belleville News-Democrat, one employee of a chemical plant near the site of the explosion in Sauget was injured by the blast just after 5:15 a.m. Thursday. The injuries weren't believed to be life-threatening.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Sauget has just 150 residents. The town sits just across the Mississippi River from St. Louis.

Sauget Police Chief Patrick Delaney said the explosion happened when workers tried to turn the power to the sewer system on after it went down.

One power line was knocked down, forcing the closure of Illinois Route 3.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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