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Judge Declares Violation in Frankfort Cop's Felony Domestic Battery Case

The Frankfort police should have turned over an audio recording of one of their police officers allegedly threatening his girlfriend, a Will County judge pronounced.

Donald Walsh. Credit: Will County Sheriff's Department
Donald Walsh. Credit: Will County Sheriff's Department
A Will County judge ruled that the Frankfort Police Department was wrong to keep quiet about a secret recording of one of their cops allegedly threatening to harm his girlfriend.

"There's no question in my mind that the action of the Frankfort Police Department was willful," Judge Edward Burmila said during a hearing in the criminal case against Frankfort cop Donald Walsh.

"I'm finding that there was a discovery violation," said Burmila, who has yet to decide what—if any—sanctions he will impose.

Options for those sanctions include forbidding the use of the recording as evidence, giving additional time for Walsh's attorney to prepare to refute it and even declaring a mistrial, said special prosecutor Dave Neal.

Walsh's former girlfriend, Jillian Fredericks, secretly recorded a 44-minute telephone call from him in June 2012. A month and a half later, Walsh, 30, was arrested by the Mokena police for allegedly beating Fredericks in her bedroom. He faces charges of domestic battery and felony aggravated domestic battery.

After Walsh's arrest, Fredericks said she turned her secret tape over to Frankfort Police Officer Leanne Bender. Frankfort was conducting an internal investigation for a pending disciplinary proceeding against Walsh.

Bender shared the tape with Frankfort Deputy Chief Robert Krauss. Krauss sent it to David Silverman, an attorney representing the village. Police Chief John Burica testified that he also was told about the tape.

Both Bender and Fredericks apparently believed Fredericks may have committed a crime by surreptitiously recording Walsh.

Bender did not "immediately" notify the Mokena police, Burmila said, "because now she's concerned it's illegal." Burmila also said Fredericks "now had a willing partner in suppressing this information."

Neal only learned of the recording when Fredericks' sister, Michelle Wawerski, told him about it after the trial's first day Nov. 20. Wawerski said she let Neal know because she was bothered by the way defense attorney Steven Haney was portraying Walsh during the trial and she wanted people to hear what Walsh is "really like."

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