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Officer Down

Monday, September 29, 2014

Woman charged with threatening Cicero town president, lawyer

-Chicago Sun-Times-

Joann Walker, 76, of Cicero, was ordered held on $100,000 bond Sunday after prosecutors alleged in court that she tried to arrange a hit on Cicero Town President Larry Dominick and town attorney Michael Del Galdo last July.

A Cicero woman was accused Sunday in Cook County Court of plotting the murders of Cicero Town President Larry Dominick and the town’s attorney — charges that the woman’s son decried as “political” during a courtroom outburst.

Joann Walker was ordered held on $100,000 bond after prosecutors alleged in court that she tried to arrange a hit on both Dominick and town attorney Michael Del Galdo last July.

Walker, 76, was charged with two felony counts of threatening a public official. She also faces an additional charge of resisting arrest, after Cicero Police said she resisted attempts to be handcuffed and then went limp once they placed the restraints on her.

During the court hearing, Judge Peggy Chiampas questioned why it took Cicero officials months to seek charges against the woman for threats she’s accused of making in July.

That prompted the outburst from Walker’s son, Henry, who shouted out that the charges were “political.” He was ordered out of the courtroom.

Assistant State’s Attorney David Mennie said the delay stemmed from efforts to make sure authorities had the correct “timeline” of events.

Mennie said that on July 16, Joann Walker spoke with another woman about a plan to recruit a hit man — identified in court only as “Mike” — to kill Dominick and Del Galdo.

Prosecutors said Walker told the woman, identified by prosecutors as Sharon Starzyk, that she wanted to get a “piece” to Mike that he could use to kill Dominick and Del Galdo.

When reached by phone Sunday evening, Henry Walker said both he and his mother have a “big mouth” and should think before they saying things. But he said there was no way she would have actually tried to have Dominick or the lawyer killed.

“She may have made improper statements, but she has no means of carrying it out,” said Henry Walker, who shares a two-flat with his mother. “For her to be arrested on hearsay with a $100,000 bond is outrageous.”

Cicero spokesman Ray Hanania did not return a phone message Sunday night seeking comment.
Starzyk, the woman Walker allegedly discussed her plot with, previously ran the town’s animal shelter, Waggin’ Tails, before she was fired in late 2009. Reached by phone Sunday night, Starzyk declined to comment.

Starzyk, who was once close with Dominick, has said in court filings that their friendship soured after Dominick began groping her, sending her filthy text messages and demanding that she lie if questioned in a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by another town employee against Dominick.
Henry Walker said his mother knew Starzyk and was “infuriated” with Dominic for the way the Waggin’ Tails animal shelter was run. Joann Walker thought the shelter had been euthanizing animals that shouldn’t have been euthanized, he said.

He also criticized Cicero officials for the way they treated her in the town lockup after she was arrested Thursday. Walker spent the weekend in the Cicero lockup and wasn’t booked into Cook County Jail until Sunday, according to records.

“She’s a 76-year-old diabetic. She didn’t have socks, a blanket or a pillow,” Henry Walker said.

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