Wait Continues For Ryan’s Request To Visit Dying Wife

UPDATED 01/06/10 5:55 p.m.

KANKAKEE, Ill. (CBS) — One day after his wife was hospitalized in intensive care for a severe infection, former Gov. George Ryan was still waiting to hear if he can leave prison temporarily to be at her side.

Lura Lynn Ryan went into a Kanakee hospital on Wednesday after becoming gravely ill with sepsis, a severe blood infection that resulted from chemotherapy and radiation treatment for her lung cancer.

George Ryan’s attorneys have asked federal prison officials to let him out of prison temporarily to visit her in the hospital. As CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole reports, they were still awaiting word on that request as of Thursday afternoon.

Doctors have said Lura Lynn Ryan is gravely ill and likely has, at most, two weeks to live. Much of her family is at her bedside at the Riverside Medical Center in Kankakee.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Bob Roberts Reports.

“She has a lot of cancer, and she has been undergoing radiation and chemotherapy even at her age, in what I regard as sort of a desperate attempt to stay alive to see her husband,” said James Thompson, Ryan’s attorney and fellow former Illinois governor.

In an interview with CBS 2’s Bill Kurtis in December, Lura Lynn Ryan said she hoped to see her husband one last time before she dies.

“I love him and miss him with all my heart,” she said. “I want him to come home soon.”

Her condition was already serious and swiftly deteriorating when Lura Lynn Ryan spoke to reporters on the day her husband was denied early release from prison to be at her bedside.

“I was very strong,” she said at the time. “I have been throughout the whole thing I have great faith in the lord, evidently he hasn’t been listening.”

Whether Lura Lynn’s dying wish to see her husband of 50 years one final time stands a chance of coming true is unclear.

In order for that to happen, George Ryan will have to be released temporarily from prison in Terre Haute, Ind.

Thompson has filed an emergency motion with the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, which is hearing an appeal of George Ryan’s corruption convictions, seeking bail pending a hearing on his appeal, so that he can visit his wife in the hospital.

U.S. prison officials are also considering a request to release Ryan temporarily on mercy grounds.

U.S. District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer denied a request to release Ryan early last month, shortly after doctors revealed Lura Lynn might have only a few months to live.

But Thompson wants what he says federal inmates are allowed by law. He says former Gov. Ryan is not asking for special treatment.

“She’s in critical condition, and the family is in Kankakee to be with her, and her one hope is that her husband can come to her bedside,” Thompson said.

If Ryan is furloughed, Thompson says the convicted governor could spend nights in the Kankakee County jail and days at his wife’s bedside in the intensive care unit.

Last month, an obviously ill Lura Lynn Ryan sat down with CBS 2’s Bill Kurtis and spoke of her desire to see her high school sweetheart in their Kankakee home one final time.

“I love him. I miss him with all my heart, and I want him to please come home soon,” she said. “One day we’ll be back together the way we should be and have a happy life together.”

George Ryan was convicted of racketeering and fraud in 2006, and was sentenced to 6 1/2 years in prison.

Judge Pallmeyer has said that Ryan basically took bribes, was convicted and must pay for that. She did say, though, that this case is a sad one.

In the meantime the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago is expected to begin considering on Friday whether to reverse last month’s decision keeping Ryan in prison for the remainder of his sentence, or whether to set him free on bail while they consider whether to overturn part of his conviction.

  • southside

    Jim Thompson is an embarassment. A former prosecutor, and now he continues to make lame arguments to get his crooked buddy out of the slammer. May God be with Mrs. Ryan.

  • Roberta Waker

    Wow!! You sound like a heartless person who needs professional help with the hatred in your heart. The Willis family has forgiven him and they have more of a reason to hate him than you do. Are you totally without sin and not guilty of hurting someone? George should be allowed to visit his dying wife. She committed no crime. It’s the humane thing to do.

    • Sym Clough

      I agree with you so much. It disgusts me how heartless people are.

    • Jim

      She commited no crime, but he did. There are ramifications to commiting crimes such as this one. That is the reason that most of us stay honest. The problem with our judicial system is consistency. If you let George do this you will have to let everyone as their loved ones didn’t commit the crime. I feel bad that she is dying, but not bad that she took a blind eye to Georges’ corruption.

    • Jen Zak

      Roberta are you kidding me? You are comparing hurting someone with murder? This isn’t about whether or not the Willis family forgives Ryan he broke several laws. We live in a country of laws. If you break them you pay the consequences. If we let him out to see her everyone with a dying family member will waste the courts time and money.
      George has also never admitted to his crimes or shown an ounce or remorse. He deserves no humane treatment.

    • Roberta Waker

      Jen, Are you kidding me? We live in a country of laws? Murderers, rapists, pedophiles, armed robbers serve less jail time than George Ryan. And what about the criminals crossing our borders ILLEGALLY? They have more rights than we do; where are our laws then? Hurting someone is not a broken heart or a cut finger; I am referring to taking away one’s livelihood, ability to support his/her family, inability to function normally. We are a country of “some” laws; but we are a country of compassion even more. Let him see his dying wife, it IS the humane thing to do.

  • http://topsy.com/chicago.cbslocal.com/2011/01/06/lura-lynn-ryan-may-have-hours-to-live/?utm_source=pingback&utm_campaign=L2 Tweets that mention Lura Lynn Ryan May Have Hours To Live « CBS Chicago – Breaking News, Sports, Weather, Traffic, and the Best of Chicago -- Topsy.com

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  • John

    What WBBM doesn’t cover are the 6 children that lost their lives because of George Ryan. Why doesn’t BBM mention what he did and why he is in prison. Why doesn’t BBM interview the relatives of the 6 dead children to see what they think about furlough. It’s because the politicians and the media in Illinois are in bed together. Disgusting that a convicted felon serving a prison term can still influence the media.

  • MIMI

    Justice is not being served by keeping Mr Ryan away from his wifes bedside. Conrad Black who destroyed more lives and took much more money than Mr Ryan is out and about on bail. He was convicted on the same “Honest Services” stature that Mr. Ryan was convicted of. ( And the Supreme Court found unconsitutional” The Lord will have the final say on Georges fate. Let him out for a few days to say his goodbyes. The state is not being harmed by an act of compassion, and we can all feel better that the right thing was done. He has served nearly half of his sentence, unlike the criminals that Quinn let out early.

    • Average Guy

      Please MIMI, Speak when you know what you’re speaking of. Of the criminals that Quinn let out early, I personally know three of them. They were convicted because they knew the person who committed the crime or had contact with the criminal and gave incorrect information for some reason, which is obstruction but, they were convicted of the same crime as the offender. Because they could not afford counsel they had to settle for a public defender, making it easy for the states attorney tie the case up into a nice little bow for a jury. A jury sees two minorities. Hispanic or African-American then deem that they must know one another. So, they are both convicted. Stories like this are repeated daily in poorer communities. Cases that maybe obstruction end in murder charges and at no time does anyone mention Blackstone’s formulation, “better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer.”

    • Jen Zak

      Are you going to pay for all the others in prisoners in the same situation? Do you know how many millions of dollars and court time this would take up?

      Justice is being served by Ryan being behind bars where he belongs.

      • MIMI

        Not at all. Let him go for a few days.Ankle monitor will be sufficent. He won’t last long after she dies.

  • concerned citizen

    If you are going to mention Conrad Black then please also mention that George Ryan was also free after his conviction while appealing the conviction. (he lost the appeal) If he had started serving his sentence right away he would be free by now and with his ailing wife. Also the state can not afford the expense that would be incurred for the temporary release due to the mismanagement and decisions that Ryan (and others) made.

  • Average Guy

    Ryan never murdered anyone, nor was he convicted of the crime of murder. A truck driver killed the Willis children and Mr. Ryan didn’t hand him the license nor did he test the driver. He was part of a conspiracy to defraud the public. Ryan was convicted for steered several state contracts to his friends, distributing campaign funds to relatives using the money to pay personal expenses and for obstructed justice by attempting to end the state investigation of the license-for-bribes scandal. He was charged with lying to investigators and accepting cash, gifts and loans in return for his favors as governor. I believe he should do his time for the conviction. But, he did confirm that capital punishment in the state of Illinois was not fair so justice was not being served. But, by releasing thirteen inmates from jail and commuting 167 death sentences, he made federal law enforcement angry so, maybe that’s why he is having such a hard time getting out.

  • Jessica , IL

    Bottom line…. ..If you let Ryan out, what message are you sending to everyone else who is in jail…I’m sure there are tons of people in jail who while they were incarcerated, loved ones passed…but do we hear about those stories?? No!!
    Ryan is no exception!! It’s called JAIL for a reason!!!! He is just another corrupt person with a sob story.
    DO I feel bad? sure, it sad…. but he should have thought about his freedom before!!

  • FR

    Hey John,
    Those children died because a back bumper bar fell off of a truck and the driver may have gotten his license questionably. No truck driver has X-ray eyes that can inspent metal for metal fatigue. Also, Judge Pallmeyer kicked off a juror to avoid a hung jury, that is justice denied.

  • mike shenault

    Mike S.
    are we a society so insensitive to the right thing to do, please let him out. she deserves that as a last wish. please have a heart. best wishes to the ryan family.

  • Katie

    I am very sadden for the Ryan family, I will pray for the guidance to get thru this. last week a guy who murdered his neighbor for the dog potting on this guy lawn get 4 years probation. Now walks around free. George Ryan who is not violent, can not be with this loving wife at her last moments. We have electronic bracelets put one on him and let him go to the hospital. I am sure he won’t try to run. She dose deserve to see him. Sure hope someone has a heart. God Bless this family.

  • melissa

    george ryan need to sit in prison and rot he did the crime he should pay for it no else get out of prison for the familt memmbers he lied about everything and the kids that was killed because of him and what he did to the residents of ldc state hosptial he close and those people died too i work at the state hosptial i know what he did let him sit there and rot in hell i have no morals for him at all i feel sorry for his wife that it ty

    • melissa

      he did alot of thing to the people out there and make him pay for it in prison please dont let the crook out of prison i do feel for his wife but not him he a crook and a liar for what he did to the people on the out side ty

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  • Sym Clough

    She deserves to see her husband one last time. Forget about George, think about his wife. She didn’t ask for this, she didn’t ask for cancer to engulf her body..

  • http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2011/01/06/new-house-vote-oks-repeal-of-death-penalty/ New House Vote OKs Repeal Of Death Penalty « CBS Chicago – Breaking News, Sports, Weather, Traffic, and the Best of Chicago

    […] Ryan is serving a 6-1/2 year sentence in federal prison for corruption charges and is trying to get … Print Share 0 […]

  • http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2011/01/07/ryan-awaits-answer-on-possible-release/ Ryan Awaits Answer On Possible Release « CBS Chicago – Breaking News, Sports, Weather, Traffic, and the Best of Chicago

    […] She is suffering from sepsis, a blood infection that is a possible complication of her treatment for… […]

  • JILL

    was george ryan humane when he caused the death of 6 children and many orhers by his disregard of the law? THEN WHY SHOULD HE GET PRIVILEGES OTHER PRISIONERS CANNOT GET?

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