JOLIET (CBS) — A south suburban man accused of driving drunk and killing a 5-year-old boy says authorities have the wrong man on trial.
It was back in may when Cecil Conner crashed his girlfriend’s car after a night of drinking. But he insists he was pressured by police to take the wheel, CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker reports.
Conner is charged with drunken driving and aggravated reckless driving.
“He’s not guilty — he needs to get out of there,” Linda Conner, the defendant’s mother, told reporters.
Conner, 23, is on trial for driving drunk, slamming his car into a tree and causing the death of Michael Langford, who was trapped in the back of the car.
The accident had happened in Steger shortly after Conner’s girlfriend — Kathy LaFond, the boy’s mother — had been stopped for a traffic violation in Chicago Heights.
She was taken into custody for driving on a suspended license.
Monday in court, Conner’s defense attorney said the same officer who arrested LaFond insisted that Conner drive the boy home.
That’s why relatives say Conner is not guilty.
“I think the evidence will show that the officer threatened to arrest him if he didn’t drive the car and because he was drunk he just followed directions,” Jeff Tomczak, Conner’s attorney, said.
The Chicago Heights officer has been identified as Chris Felicetti. LaFond’s attorney says she also told the officer that Conner had been drinking.
Mark Horwitz, Kathie LaFond’s attorney, said Felicetti disregarded her warnings that she was the designated driver.
Prosecutors disagreed. They say Conner is responsible for the boy’s death.