As a result Jason “J. Rock” Austin got away with murder; at least for a while.
Austin was accused of gunning down Det. Robert Soto and social worker Kathryn Romberg on Chicago's West Side in 2008.
Austin, however, inadvertently snitched on himself.
In a recorded telephone call the accused drug dealer objected to accusations that he was wearing a hat when he killed the policeman and his companion.
Austin was sentenced this week to 35 years.
From our news source we read:
Evidence suggested he shot Romberg and Soto after mistaking them for rivals in a deadly heroin turf war. But in a brief, barely audible request for mercy from the judge, he did not refer to the killings, saying only that he wanted “another chance to show my family that I’ve improved myself in the time I’ve been gone.”Continue reading ►
His sister ran from the court sobbing as the sentence was announced.
Outside court, Soto’s brother-in-law Robert said Soto’s family was glad that “justice was provided.”
And Soto’s niece Amanda, who also asked that her last name not be used, thanked police for sticking with the case seen after the initial prosecution collapsed.
“It won’t bring back my uncle, but we finally have closure,” she said. “Our hearts will be broken forever.”
Chief Nick Roti, who heads Chicago Police’s organized crime bureau and who was chief of detectives at the time of Soto’s murder, was one of a dozen cops who met with Soto and Romberg’s families after the hearing.
“It’s been a long time coming,” he said. “We’ve known from the start of the investigation that Jason Austin was responsible.”
Austin’s attorney Richard Kling indicated that an appeal is likely. Though he said he respected Lefkow’s decision, he said she was wrong to hold Austin responsible for the murders.
The state case that collapsed in 2008 “was stronger then than the case they presented here,” he said.
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