No-show for 25 years, convicted rapist taken into county custody
Living a quiet life in Zion 'just going about his business'
March 2, 2007
By ART PETERSON and Nicholas P. Alajakis [email protected] [email protected]
ZION -- A clerical error in 1982, that kept a convicted rapist out of jail for 25 years, has been righted.
Sebon Brown Jr, 56, of Zion, is again facing a 15-year jail sentence for a 1973 rape conviction, but it's unlikely that he'll evade prison, like he did more than two decades ago.
Brown was living on Gideon Avenue in Zion for the past two decades, while a warrant that should have been issued for his arrest, never was.
Brown was released on bond in the early 1980s while he appealed his rape conviction. But when the Appellate Court upheld the conviction and ordered Brown to turn himself in, to begin serving the sentence, he was a no-show.
On March 4, 1982, a warrant was ordered for his arrest. However, that judge's order was apparently never typed up and issued,
according to the criminal court supervisor in the Lake County Circuit Court Clerk's office who declined to give her name.
"I found out on Monday from the Illinois Department of Corrections. They called and said this guy had never surrendered," she said Thursday.
A new version of the warrant was issued Wednesday, using Brown's 1973 address, said Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran Jr.
Deputies went to the home at 3212 Gideon Ave. at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday and arrested Brown without incident, Curran said.
While it was surprising that Brown was still living at the same address, it was more of a shock that he has remained under police radar for so long, Curran said.
"He did nothing to bring attention to himself," Curran said. "Not even a traffic stop. He was just going about his business, it seemed."
Curran's office did not know what exactly Brown has doing for the past 25 years.
In bond court Thursday, Judge Valerie Boettle Ceckowski set a status date for March 7. Brown is being held in the Lake County Jail without bond.
Mathew Chancey, chief of the criminal division in the state's attorney's office, said Brown should simply be sent to prison, noting, "He's already been tried and found guilty, sentenced and lost his appeal."
Yet to be determined is how much, if any, of the sentence that Brown may have served. Chancey indicated the 25-year-old Appellate bond information "is not in our records."
Under 1973 sentencing standards, Brown had been sentenced to a term of "15 to 30 years," with the actual number determined by a parole board, which would review the case after a percentage of the sentence had been served,
Brown, then 22, was convicted of raping a 17-year-old Kenosha girl in a car. A 20-year-old co-defendant, James B. Edwards, also was convicted of rape and sentenced to "10 to 20 years" in prison. He is believed to have served his sentence.
A third Zion man involved in the attack, David Croom Jr., 20, testified against the other two in exchange for a reduced conviction of robbery.
Brown became a jailhouse informant for the so-called De MauMau gang murders which occurred, unobserved by guards, in the jail in 1973. Four Chicagoans were charged with killing two fellow gang members who were going to testify against them. The two strangled victims were found in their locked individual cells.
Brown testified he heard two of the gang members say they were going to "take care of" the two who were going to "turn state's evidence."
The four surviving gang members were found not guilty of the jail murders, but they were convicted of several other murders in Lake County.