The father of a high school student killed in a drunken driving accident was briefly jailed today after a courtroom exchange with the judge involved in the case.
The flare-up took place Thursday in the Kane County court of Judge Timothy Sheldon, who was resentencing Onofrio “Josh” Lorusso, 20, of Wayne.
Lorusso is on probation for the 2009 accident in St. Charles that killed his passenger, Cameron Godee, 17, of West Chicago.
Lorusso had been ticketed in Des Plaines last year for underage drinking, a violation of probation for his conviction on aggravated DUI and reckless homicide.
At a hearing Thursday, Kane County prosecutors asked Sheldon to sentence Lorusso to prison time on the violation.
But when the judge, according to several witnesses, said he was not ready to give up on Lorusso, Godee’s father stood and said, “How much did they pay you this time?”
Sheldon held Gregory Godee in contempt and ordered him taken into custody, but not before the judge rebuked him for leaving his son unsupervised the night he was killed.
The night Cameron Godee died, his parents were out of town and the teenager had hosted a party, where, the judge told the father in a raised voice, police found 300 empty beer cans.
After a short recess, the judge reconvened the court and sentenced Lorusso to 30 days in the county jail for the violation. He also ordered him to wear an alcohol monitoring anklet for 90 days.
Sheldon then ordered Godee to be brought in.
The father apologized, and he and Sheldon spoke quietly for several minutes.
“I understand the hurt and the hurt is still close to the nerve,” said the judge, who a minute later ordered that Godee be released.
Godee declined to comment afterward.
His parents and the victim’s grandparents, Leonard and Kathryn Godee, said their son should have controlled himself, but they remained critical of Sheldon for not sentencing Lorusso to prison.
“He should get at least a year in jail,” Leonard Godee said about Lorusso.
Lorusso had a blood-alcohol content three times the legal limit on June 14, 2009, when he slammed his SUV into a tree, injuring two passengers and killing Godee, his high school classmate.
Sheldon, who at sentencing had called the case one of the most difficult he had heard, originally ordered Lorusso to serve 180 days in jail, but gave him time off for making speeches about drunk driving to school and community groups. He could have faced 14 years in prison.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times