The following are recent developments in notable DuPage County court cases:
Child Solicitation, Pornography, Sex Abuse and Assault
Downers Grove—A Texas man accused of arranging a meeting with a teen from Downers Grove, and then fondling the girl, has pleaded not guilty to the multiple charges against him. Rudolph Figueroa, 45, denied charges of child pornography, sex abuse, sex assault, solicitation of a child and grooming in connection to incidents between March and June of this year, records show. Authorities have said Figueroa sent texts and spoke with the girl several times. He is accused of photographing and touching the girl inappropriately, according to indictments against Figueroa. He returns to court Sept. 19.
Darien—Following after her husband's plea with prosecutors, Georgina Burr pleaded guilty Aug. 27 to cocaine possession in connection to their Christmas Eve arrests at a Darien gas station. Georgina Burr was sentence to 82 days in DuPage County Jail, receiving 41 days credit, and placed on two years of probation centered on drug treatment. She must complete evaluations and counseling as part of her deal with prosecutors, according to court records. Police arrested Georgina and Andrew Burr, both of Walnut, Ill., after a witness reported the couple left their children in a running car. Both entered the women's bathroom where they shot heroin, authorities have said. Georgina Burr's also pleaded to a misdemeanor count of child endangerment. Andrew Burr pleaded guilty in July and was sentenced to nearly a year of work release from the jail.
Christmas Eve Robbery
Elmhurst—Rodney Payton, a former Nazareth Academy and Elmhurst College football player, was sentenced to six years in prison after pleading guilty Aug. 24 to an armed robbery charge, court records show. Police arrested Payton in December for his role in a Christmas Eve hold up of a man for his new Air Jordan shoes as part of a ruse set up on Craigslist. No one else has been charged in the case. Prosecutors slightly amended the charge Payton admitted to by removing the word firearm and replacing it with "bludgeon," records state. Payton's sentence came amid an outpouring of support from family and others, including the Nazareth's president and his college football coach, who asked in nearly two dozen letters for Payton's strong family background and character to be considered as part of the deal.
Murder for Hire
Wheaton—A judge recently denied the request by Gordon Vanderark to suppress his statements to authorities investigating threats he reportedly made against an assistant state's attorney and another judge. Vanderark had claimed prosecutors violated his rights and improperly questioned him about claims he tried to hire someone to kill the prosecutor and judge who handled an aggravated drunken driving case that landed Vanderark in prison. Vanderark, last of Wheaton, returns to court Sept. 14.
Apartment Complex Fire
Woodridge—A 30-year-old woman from Rosemont was sentenced to four years in prison after pleading guilty to setting a fire earlier this year at a Woodridge apartment complex. In a deal with prosecutors, who dropped an aggravated arson count, Maria Bustamante received credit for six months she served in DuPage County Jail and was ordered to pay $535 in court costs. No injuries were reported as a result of the Feburary fire at Windsor Lakes apartments. Authorities said the fire was started in a hallway and caused about $25,000 in damage.
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