Police blotter: Man accused of Crest Hill murder, arson makes court appearance
November 27, 2012 10:38PM
Updated: December 29, 2012 6:22AM
A man accused of stabbing his 89-year-old neighbor to death and then setting her Crest Hill house on fire to hide his crime appeared Tuesday in Will County court.
If convicted, Bruce Gempel, 48, faces up to 60 years in prison for the murder of Dorothy Dumyahn, up to 15 years on an arson charge, and up to five years on a charge of concealment of a homicide.
Gempel remains in the county jail on $1 million bail.
An off-duty firefighter spotted the blaze at Dumyahn’s house just before 9 a.m. Nov. 18 as he was driving in the 2300 block of Caton Farm Road. The front of the home was in flames and Dumyahn was discovered dead inside.
Gempel, who was living at his brother’s house next door to Dumyahn’s, was arrested on Thanksgiving after police said he made inconsistent statements to investigators.
Authorities have been tight-lipped about a possible motive for the attack.
Gempel is scheduled to return to court Dec. 18.
A Joliet man is one of four men who were denied bond Tuesday after being charged with the fatal beating of a man Saturday in Cicero.
Erik Noriega, 29, of the 1000 block of Leawood Drive in Joliet; Jose Escobar, 20, of the 2500 block of Kenilworth Avenue in Berwyn; Erik Naves, 23, of the 2200 block of South Austin Avenue in Cicero; and Juan Galvez, 19, of the 5500 block of West 22nd Place in Cicero, are charged with murder, according to Cook County state’s attorney’s office spokesman Andrew Conklin.
Peter Ocampo, 28, of the 3500 block of South 57th Court in Cicero, was pronounced dead at 5:07 a.m. Saturday, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.
Ocampo suffered head trauma during a battery in the 2500 block of South Central Avenue, where he was found outside, authorities said.
The four suspects are expected back in court Dec. 4.
A spokesman for the Cicero Police Department did not return multiple calls for information.
JOLIET TOWNSHIP — The preliminary cause of death for a 47-year-old Joliet man who died Monday near Rowell Avenue and Manhattan Road was multiple injuries due to a train striking a pedestrian, the Will County coroner’s office said after an autopsy Tuesday.
The man was struck by a freight train Monday, and was pronounced dead at 3:25 p.m. that day at Rowell and Manhattan, the coroner’s office said. Will County police and the Canadian National Railway police are investigating. County police said the death is an apparent suicide.
In other police news:
Kegan R. Beavers: 19, of 1426 N. Prairie in Joliet, was charged Tuesday with domestic battery in Joliet.
Tracie J. Johnson: 34, of 14224 S. Parnell Ave. in Riverdale, was charged with retail theft Monday in Tinley Park.