Gun eluded jail deterrents
Guards fail to detect weapon in shooting
Tuesday, February 07, 2006
by Jeff Coen
A metal detector apparently didn't alert anyone to a handgun stuffed down the pants of a young woman arriving to visit an inmate at Cook County Jail last month, authorities acknowledged Monday.
Guards also missed it--or ignored it--when that inmate produced some kind of tool to remove a metal plate screwed into the glass separating the two during their visit.
And the two weren't stopped when the woman allegedly pulled the gun from her pants and passed it to the inmate through an opening where the metal plate was supposed to be, authorities said.
Cook County sheriff's police on Monday sketched out an audacious plot that they said was used to smuggle a snubnose revolver into a maximum-security division Jan. 26.
The gun was used in a shooting Wednesd ay that left three men in one cell with minor injuries. Sources close to the case have said investigators believe the shooting was staged so the inmates could file a lawsuit against the county, which operates the jail.
The woman, Randi White, 21, appeared Monday in Bond Court, via closed-circuit television, and Criminal Court Judge Thomas Hennelly ordered her held in lieu of $500,000 bail on a charge of bringing contraband into a penal institution. White is a friend of inmate Gregory Sherman and his brother, prosecutors said, her last job was at a movie theater on Western Avenue.
Sally Daly, a spokeswoman for Cook County Sheriff Michael Sheahan, said investigators still can't rule out that White and Sherman had help from guards who either aided them directly or purposefully turned a blind eye.
Some may have been complicit, Daly said, or some may have just been incompetent.
"We're looking at it," Daly said. "We're tracking the path the weapon took once it got into the facility and what officers were on duty at the time."
Daly said the superintendent of the division and its chief have been demoted and reassigned to other jobs in the jail. Sheahan has ordered a "top-to-bottom" review of security.
Two other people caught up in the sweeping investigation into the security lapse also appeared in court Monday. Carolyn Roscoe, 18, the girlfriend of wounded inmate Terry Martin of Dolton, was charged with bringing contraband into a penal institution.
Prosecutors said that between May and January, she allegedly entered the jail a number of times with marijuana packed into drinking straws that were concealed in her sleeves. She allegedly would give them to Martin's brother in a visiting room and the straws would be passed through the glass divider.
Sources said one screw from a metal plate the communication phones hang on would be removed and the straws would be slipped through the hole. Roscoe is being held in lieu o f $60,000 bail.
The investigation also snared jail guard Charles Marose, an 8-year veteran of the sheriff's office, who allegedly sneaked cigarettes and vodka into the jail. Daly said the probe uncovered a relationship between the guard and inmates in the division, but Marose was not connected to the gun case.
Prosecutors said Marose, 32, was paid $20 a pack in several incidents in January and $50 a bottle for vodka. Assistant State's Atty. David Navarro told Hennelly that Marose would carry the vodka into the jail by hiding it in soda and water bottles.
Marose allegedly has made a statement implicating himself, Navarro said, and has told authorities he also brought clothing and food to another inmate. He was ordered held in lieu of $150,000 bail on a charge of official misconduct.
The shooting incident remains under investigation, and authorities said more people were expected to be charged in the coming days.
In the shooting, Sherman, who w as awaiting sentencing for armed robbery and other convictions, was grazed on his elbow; Martin, awaiting trial in a murder, was shot in the calf; and Lorenzo Evans, also awaiting trial on murder charges, suffered a thigh wound.