Illinois toughens consequences for concealing a murder     Send a link to a friend

Governor signs Stacey's Law

[JULY 21, 2004]  CHICAGO -- On Tuesday Gov. Rod Blagojevich signed House Bill 4032, also known as "Stacey's Law." The new law requires defendants to serve consecutive sentences, rather than concurrent, when one of the offenses is concealment of a homicidal death or dismembering a human body. The law is named after Stacey Bravo, a 29-year-old woman from Calumet Park who was murdered by her then-boyfriend, who concealed her body for more than two years.

"While a change in the law can't bring Stacey back, hopefully, it can provide the Bravo family with some peace," said Gov. Blagojevich. "By signing Stacey's law, we are trying to prevent other families from suffering the same pain the Bravo family experienced when they learned one of the men involved in concealing Stacey's death would be released from prison after less than a year behind bars."

Stacey Bravo was shot and killed in 1999 by Tim Gallano. After her murder, Gallano and Jack Morretti hid her body in a barrel filled with cement at a Mokena farm. Eventually, 2 years after her murder, Moretti led police to Bravo's body. Gallano was sentenced to 60 years in prison. Morretti was sentenced to five years for concealing her body and five years for drug possession. Because the sentences were served concurrently, Morretti was released after serving less than one year.

Rep. Robert Rita, D-Crestwood, and Sen. Barack Obama, D-Chicago, sponsored the legislation.

"For those who have had to deal with the horrible realities of these crimes, I'm proud to have helped enact this law," Rep. Rita said. "It's essential that the state gives prosecutors the tools they need to put these people away for a long time so they don't get out in half the time on some sentencing technicality. The nature of these crimes is enough to warrant this legislation. Ultimately, though, it's the victims and the victims' families who deserve our help."

 

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House Bill 4032 adds concealment of a body to a list of crimes that, in most cases, require defendants to serve consecutive sentences. Other crimes with similar provisions include first-degree murder, Class X-Class 1 felonies when a defendant inflicted severe bodily injuries, and armed violence predicated on solicitation of murder for hire, heinous battery or criminal sexual assault.

"Hopefully, this legislation will bring some measure of closure to the family of a victim who suffered such a heinous act," said Sen. Obama. "Our criminal justice system must be equipped to deal with these instances and deliver the maximum penalty allowed. It is the least we can do in Stacey's memory."

House Bill 4032 becomes effective immediately.

[News release from the governor's office]

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