Driver in Kid-Kill Wreck Really Likes Talking on the Phone
Convicted of killing his girlfriend's young son in a drunken wreck, Cecil Conner hopes he might get a new trial based on the state failing to fork over recording of his jailhouse phone calls.
In the year he spent in jail after drunkenly careening into a tree in a wreck that killed his girlfriend's young son, Cecil Conner made nearly 2,000 collect calls.
Now Conner, who was convicted in February of aggravated drunken driving, is pinning his hopes for a new trial on the prosecution's failure to turn over recordings of his telephone conversations.
Judge Edward Burmilla was to hear arguments on whether Conner should get another trial Thursday, but Assistant State's Attorney Debbie Mills asked for and received a postponement so prosecution witnesses can make it to court.
Conner's attorney, Jeff Tomczak, said one of those witnesses will be Michael O'Leary, the warden of the Will County jail.
Conner has been jailed since May 2010. He was arrested after ramming his girlfriend's 1997 Chevy Cavalier into a tree. The girlfriend's 5-year-old son, Michael Langford, was sleeping in the car's back seat and was killed in the crash.
The girlfriend, Kathie LaFond, had been driving. But 40 minutes prior to the crash, Chicago Heights Police Officer Chris Felicetti pulled the car over and arrested LaFond, who was sober but driving without a valid license. Felicetti allowed the drunken Conner to drive off with the young boy in the backseat.
Within two days of her son's death, LaFond had a lawsuit going against Felicetti, Conner and the town of Chicago Heights.
Conner faces up to 14 years in prison on the aggravated drunken driving conviction.
During a brief hearing Thursday, Mills said she determined that Conner made 1,986 telephone calls in the one year and several weeks he's been locked up at the county jail.
Inmates can only call collect from the jail. Calls are capped at 20 minutes, meaning Conner may have spent as many as 662 hours on the phone, or nearly a month's worth of 24-hour days during his year of captivity.
In a previous hearing, Tomczak said many of Conner's calls were made to his former girlfriend, the grieving mother LaFond, who has had a lawsuit going against the jailed man all this time.
Burmilla set Conner's next hearing for July 14.