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Aurora officers honored for helping free wrongly convicted man

Aurorpolice investigators John Munn left Darrell Moore flank Police Chief Greg Thomas.

Aurora police investigators John Munn, left, and Darrell Moore flank Police Chief Greg Thomas.

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Updated: March 23, 2013 6:18AM

AURORA — Aurora Police Detectives John Munn and Darrell Moore have been lauded by national, state and local law enforcement organizations and legal groups over the past year for their efforts that eventually led to vacating an Aurora man’s murder conviction in 2012.

Their latest honor comes from their own agency, with the pair being named the Aurora Police Department’s 2012 Co-Employees of the Year.

“Innocent individuals serving time in prison is wrong,” Police Chief Greg Thomas said at a ceremony at the Aurora Police Department. “(The defendant) Jonathon Moore had his trial and exhausted his appeals. No one was going to help him, but you took it upon yourselves to correct the situation and an innocent person was rightfully set free. Your actions were courageous and heroic.”

Munn and Moore’s efforts began in April, 2011 when they received information from a confidential informant that Jonathon Moore, who was 20-years-old when he was convicted in a 2000 shooting that claimed the life of a Montgomery man, was not involved in the crime.

Jonathon Moore was convicted by a Kane County jury in 2002 on murder, attempted murder and aggravated battery with a firearm charges. He was sentenced later that year to 75 years in prison. In 2004, the Illinois Appellate Court Second District upheld the conviction.

Once the new information came to the attention of Munn and Darrell Moore, they re-interviewed prior witnesses and found 10 new people who had information on the case but did not come forward originally. After conferring with the Kane County state’s attorney, Jonathan Moore’s conviction was vacated on in March 2012, after he had served 13 years in prison.

Munn has been with the Aurora police since 1998 and Detective Moore joined the department in 1996.

The department also honored 26 officers and two support personnel during the ceremony. All previously had been named as employees or co-employees of the month for 2012. They include:

Officer Daniel Gray who stopped three men who had just burglarized a house. He ended up confiscating two guns and got felony charges against the three.

Officers Jonathan Olsen, Jason Woolsey, and David Bemer for talking an armed man out of an apartment where he had just sexually assaulted his former girlfriend, beat another man, and was holding his and his former girlfriend’s young daughter.

Officer Shireen Long for de-escalating a dangerous situation with an out-of-control man who was acting erratically while holding hammers in both of his hands.

Officer Dave Brian for initiating the follow-up questioning of a man stopped for suspicious behavior which later led to possession of child pornography, burglary, criminal trespass, and disorderly conduct charges in connection with several “Peeping Tom” incidents on the West side.

Officers Brian Baumann, Christopher Grandchamp, Enrique Huerta, Sandra Martinez, Christopher Cox, John Gray, Laura Kolanowski, Sandra Navarrete, Aendri Decker, Kyle Hoffman, Ramon Lopez, Steven Pacenti; and Sgts. Jeff Tate and Eric Westrom for their efforts that saved two men who had crashed their car into a treed.

Officer Matt Bonnie who, while off-duty, came across a burning, occupied vehicle that was involved in a crash in Oswego. He rescued a Yorkville man from the burning car.

Officer Laurie Pekich who launched an investigation into a registered sex offender that resulted in him being arrested by federal authorities.

Officer Sandra Navarrete, who, while off-duty, heard noises outside her Aurora home and saw four men breaking into a car. She called 911, attempted to chase down the suspects, and with the help of backup officers, took two of them into custody.

Records Clerks Cheryl Joyce and Tammy Renaud for aiding a 19-year-old cadet who was choking on a piece of food. Joyce noticed that the cadet look disoriented when he was exiting his vehicle and realized he was choking. She yelled to Renaud, who was nearby, who responded and administered the Heimlich maneuver which dislodged the object.

Investigator Steve Stemmet and Sgt. Rob Wallers for working together while off-duty to secure the arrest of a gang member wanted for questioning in an attempted murder case.

Officer Dave Hornburg for saving the life of a 56-year-old heart attack victim after being the first to arrive at a home on a call for a man who had stopped breathing. The man underwent an emergency procedure once at the hospital and is responding well to out-patient therapy.

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