Charges Dropped Against Lynwood Cop Brian Dorian

UPDATED: Oct. 13, 2010 9:33 p.m.

JOLIET, Ill (CBS/WBBM) – Prosecutors on Wednesday dropped murder charges against Lynwood police officer Brian Dorian, who had been arrested last week as the suspect in a bi-state shooting spree.

After the hearing, family and supporters of Dorian hugged each other. “It was emotional,” said one of Dorian’s fellow Lynwood police officers.

As he arrived in court, Dorian simply said, “Thank you, thank you,” when asked what he had to say to the large group of family and friends who had insisted upon his innocence.

Dorian’s mother, Diane Dorian, said the most important task now is to “find the person that’s out there that has done this before he kills again.” She said “no comment” when asked if she would take any action against the Will County State’s Attorney’s office.

Dorian had pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder earlier Tuesday. Prosecutors had alleged he was the man who shot Rolando Alonso, 45, last week.

Police have said the man who shot and killed Alonso at a construction site in rural Beecher in Will County also shot and critically wounded 19-year-old Joshua Garza at the scene, and then later shot and injured 62-year-old farmer Keith Dahl in Lowell, Ind.

But just hours after he was arraigned on Tuesday, Dorian was freed after prosecutors said he couldn’t possibly have committed the crime.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Bob Roberts Reports

“We received some computer forensic information that places Brian Dorian in his home at the time of the Beecher shootings,” Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow said.

Glasgow said the information rendered it “physically impossible” for Dorian to have committed the crime.

CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole reports that Dorian was able to show police which websites he was visiting on his home computer at the time of the shootings. He could identify keystrokes that were traced to his computer at that time and shopping receipts also placed him away from the crime scene. Finally, one of the wounded victims could not identify the 37-year-old as the gunman.

His attorney says without such proof, his client could possibly still be locked up for a crime he didn’t commit.

Dorian’s attorneys said Wednesday that their client broke down in tears while talking to them after the charges were dropped, telling them he feels sorry for the family of the man who was killed in the shooting spree. Dorian has not eaten since his arrest.

Attorneys also said that new evidence that helped Dorian also included cell phone calls he made during the shooting spree.

But when Dorian was initially charged with the case four days earlier, prosecutors did so based on what appeared at the time to be a mountain of circumstantial evidence.

“If you look at all of the evidence that pointed towards him, it’s uncanny,” Glasgow said Tuesday night.

But Glasgow said when it became clear that they had the wrong man, they had to make it right at the news conference.

“This is a terribly tragic case. I feel horrible that Brian Dorian went through this. I certainly would apologize for any inconvenience that he has suffered,” said Glasgow. “But at the same time, he is a police officer, and if he were in our shoes, and he had a suspect under these circumstances, Brian Dorian would have acted the same way.”

Attorney David Carlson didn’t seem so sure about that when he talked with CBS 2 shortly after his client was cleared.

“It appears that at this time, the only reason they arrested him was because of an identification of one witness,” Carlson said.

And defense attorney Bob O’Dekirk said there was a “rush to judgment” in arresting his client.

“I don’t think charges there’s any way should have been brought two days into this matter,” O’Dekirk said.

On Wednesday morning, State’s Attorney’s office spokesman Chuck Pelkie said this was not true.

“The charges were filed, and the arrest was made based upon all of the evidence that was available to the sheriff’s department at the time,” Pelkie said. “Law enforcement from any agency would have felt compelled to make the arrest based on all the information that the State’s Attorney’s office and that the Will County Sheriff’s Department had at the time.”

The information included both photo and live lineup identification, the identification of the van Dorian was driving, and data gathered on cell phone calls he made, Pelkie said.

Carlson says his client is thankful that his nightmare is over, but is concerned that there is a killer on the loose.

“As a police officer, he feels that if he can do something to help, he will,” Carlson said.

Carlson adds that he believes this case should serve as a warning to prosecutors everywhere.

“We have to do the job. We have to thoroughly investigate before we change and/or ruin people’s lives,” he said.

On Wednesday morning Carlson gave Glasgow credit for proclaiming Dorian innocent.

“We’re in agreement with Jim on one thing – Jim being Jim Glasgow, the State’s Attorney – Brian Dorian had nothing to do with this crime, and Jim, I think, was unequivocal last night in saying that,” he said.

Lynwood Police Officer Greg Szymanski said that Dorian’s colleagues were hurt when they saw him shown in such a negative light after his arrest.

Lynwood police officers struggled to believe Dorian could be a killer. Fortunately, calls from the public gave them reason to hope otherwise.

“Probably one of the things that helped us through this was, while Brian Dorian was in custody, the public was still coming in with information. The public themselves would tell us ‘We don’t believe your police officer did this,’” Szymanski said.

On Wednesday night, dozens of his friends and family members went to a Lynwood sports bar to celebrate Dorian’s freedom.

Christi Maish says Dorian coached her son in baseball and knew all along he was innocent. She cried when she heard he’d been released. And former police colleague Lori Niedziela says she stood behind him all they way.

Dorian, though, isn’t talking. Sgt. Tim Smith of the Lynwood Police Department says he’s too traumatized by what happened, after spending almost five days in jail.

Now, the search for the killer is again a top priority. Investigators in both Will County and Lake County, Ind. say Dorian’s arrest didn’t slow them down. But Dorian’s friends say time was wasted.

And Sgt. Smith says even those at Dorian’s gathering tonight are not taking the case lightly. They know a killer is out there and Smith says there wasn’t a cop at Dorian’s gathering that didn’t want to help find him.

Smith also says Dorian insisted he was innocent from the beginning, even telling detectives about his computer activity and other evidence that would clear him but they didn’t listen.

Will County authorities say that’s not the case. Do they have any new, strong leads? Spokesperson Pat Barry says as of Wednesday afternoon — no.

In spite of charging that the Will County State’s Attorney’s office rushed into a wrongful arrest, Dorian and his attorneys won’t comment on whether they plan to file a lawsuit.

CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov, Mike Puccinelli, Vince Gerasole, and Newsradio 780’s Bob Roberts contributed to this report.

  • UPDATED: Charges Dropped Against Lynwood Cop Brian Dorian | USA News

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  • The Watcher

    Let the police haters begin………

  • Pauline

    Can WBBM NewsRadio 780 please post a transcript of Steve Miller’s report? I just heard it on WBBM and cannot find a transcript. Thank you.

  • TIM

    Hey Pauline, You and everyone on the planet should be aware that transcripts leave out ALOT OF INFORMATION!!! THAT SHOULD BE KNOW PUBLICLY!! They even say because of noise inaccurate recording, failure of machines they cannot guarantte everything on a transcrpit. To me, why have it then . YOU GET EVERY WORD AND PERIOD OR NOTHING AT ALL!!!

  • TIM

    I also want to add on a different note. Is the urgency out there as far as when this first happened? And somehow he has to have some media capabilities, seeing how this stopped abuptly as well. When they caught this guy, the shootings did not continue in a different area. There is something way way wrong. And its not about BEING A POLICE HATER!!!!! ALOT of people really need to start using their brain.

    • Lori

      For the record Tim, the shootings happened Tuesday Brian wasn’t arrested until Friday so how do you explain that?? Quit believing everything the media tells you! Yes and I agree people do need to start using their brains and worry about the fact that they can put an innocent man in jail, and crucify him in the press, and put a 2.5 million dollar bond on him with No evidence!! The sketch they have doesn’t even look like him #1 and #2 no one can even describe the vehicle. Makes me believe they can arrest any one of us at any given time for a crime we didn’t commit!

      • Lori

        Oh By the way i believe it’s INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY! Not the other way around!

    • unknown

      i agree with you 100% Tim.

  • K

    If he didn’t do it, great an innocent man has be freed. If he did do it, shame on him and everyone else. However I would still like to know how someone accessses their facebook while in jail?

  • anon a miss

    Why is he called the honeybee killer?

    • Lori

      The shooter was talking to a farmer about Honey Bee’s before he shot him.

  • TIM

    What they should do is have the eye witness and this policeman in a room dressed exactly, the same exact precise clothing, unshaven whatever and then see what his reaction is. Have exact eye contact everything. Have experts that read peoples reactions, eye movements everything!!

  • TIM

    Well thank you Lori, although its obvious you are getting very defensive here. I do not recall ever accusing him of anything. All I was doing was stating the coincidence of events, how things happened and the timing of how things stopped. In addition I will point this out, the seems to be more than a slight resemblence of the artists sketch and the picture of this guy out after the charges being dropped. Im noticing expecially around the eye area of both left and right eyes, as well as forehead area., and ears. I think its called comparing. And as I stated earlier to have this guy dressed exactly precisely as the witness saw, get them in a room and see how they both react. Its not to bring back trauma (even though it will) Its getting to the truth.

  • KP

    Tonight they showed a sketch drawing of what the killer guy is supposed to look like. Then they did a story on a guy was responsible for some credit card scam and he totally looked like the killer guy in the sketch! Did anyone else notice this or is it just me?

  • larry

    I’ll say again. If this guy’s not a cop, he’s not out right now. No way. Oh, and I guarantee this guy’s gaming the medical leave situation. Milking that like cops always do.

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