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Illinois Republican lawmaker warned of board that released alleged killer of Chicago boy: 'Sick to my stomach'

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Before a member of Illinois’ Prisoner Review Board (PRB) resigned this week after a parolee with a lengthy criminal history killed a boy and injured his pregnant mother a day after being released, Republican lawmakers had been sounding alarms over her and other members on the panel, saying the appointment process had been politicized. 

LeAnn Miller quit the board after signing off on the release of Crosetti Brand, 37, who was serving a 16-year sentence for a home invasion and aggravated assault when he was paroled early. Brand was released March 12 from the Stateville Correctional Center with electronic monitoring.

The next morning, he forced his way into Laterria Smith’s Chicago apartment and fatally stabbed her son, 11-year-old Jayden Perkins, as he came to the aid of his mother, who was also stabbed, said police.

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Smith and Brand had previously been in a relationship. However, Brand had previously threatened her via text messages in January and had a long history of domestic abuse. Despite his criminal record, Brand was still released early. 

Miller was appointed in 2021 by Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

“I’m sick to my stomach over it (the killing),” Republican Illinois state Sen. Jason Plummer told Fox News Digital. “I heard the news, and I was just disgusted.” 

“The governor is the one doing this and this boy is dead,” he added. “For the last three years, the governor of Illinois has taken a cavalier and reckless attitude towards the Prisoner Review Board and criminal justice in general.”

Fox News Digital has reached out to Pritzker’s office. 

“I’m sick to my stomach over it (the killing). I heard the news, and I was just disgusted.” 

— Illinois state Sen. Jason Plummer

In a Facebook post, the Helen C. Peirce School Of International Studies called Jayden a “loving, funny, talented Peirce student whose light shined brightly across the school community and beyond.” 

“He was the student who stood up for everyone,” one teacher said, according to the post. 

Last week, the Gus Giordano Dance School released a video of Jayden performing. 

“Jayden Perkins brought the brightest light to GUS. We are incredibly blessed to have been apart of his life. We love you Jayden,” the school posted on X. 

Paroled in 2023

Brand was initially paroled in October 2023, and brought back to prison in February for allegedly violating the conditions of his release. 

“A PRB hearing determined the alleged violations did not meet the standards to detain him,” a board spokesperson told Fox News Digital. “The suspect was returned to parole on March 12th, and notifications were again made to registered victims.”

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A mugshot of Crosetti Brand

Fearing for her safety, Smith, 33, begged for a protection order against Brand. A hearing on the matter was scheduled for March 13, the same day Smith and her son were attacked. The state Prisoner Review Board said it wasn’t aware of the court proceeding.  

“At the time of the hearing, the Prisoner Review Board did not have any information to indicate that the victim was currently petitioning for an Order of Protection at the trial court level or any pending hearings associated with her petition,” the agency said. “This is not information generally provided to the Board. As a result, the PRB was not able to take that information into consideration.”

Plummer and other state senate Republicans voiced concerns about the review board in 2021, noting that many of the appointees chosen by Pritzker had been in their positions far longer than the 60-session-day deadline required for state Senate lawmakers to take a confirmation vote. The body is tasked with confirming the governor’s hundreds of appointments to state agencies, boards and commissions.

As a workaround, Pritzker would withdraw the review board appointments and then re-appoint the members to reset the countdown for the Senate to confirm, Plummer said. That allowed some members to serve for months, and in some cases years, without coming before the state Senate for a vote, he said. 

Meanwhile, they were releasing convicted felons at a far greater rate than in years past, said Plummer. 

“They were letting child-killers out. They were letting cop-killers out. They were letting rapists out,” he said. 

Fox News Digital has reached out to Pritzker’s office. 

Miller was appointed to the Prisoner Review Board in September 2021, and her term wasn’t due to expire until January 2027. She was previously criticized for her role in releasing a prisoner who killed her two infant daughters in the 1980s.

PRB choices criticized

Aside from the board’s actions, Plummer also criticized Pritzker’s choice of appointees. One was Max Cerda, who was appointed in 2021, years after being paroled for a double-murder he committed at age 16. While on the PRB, Cerda voted to release a convicted cop-killer who actually served time in prison.

Crosetti Brand and Jayden Perkins eye contact

Pritzker pulled the appointment when it appeared Cerda didn’t have enough Senate support. 

In a Monday statement announcing Miller’s resignation, Pritzker said the 11-member board must be able to operate independently.

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“It is clear that evidence in this case was not given the careful consideration that victims of domestic violence deserve, and I am committed to ensuring additional safeguards and training are in place to prevent tragedies like this from happening again,” he said.   

That same day, Pritzker announced the resignation of PRB chair Donald Shelton, who’d been on the board since 2012. 

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