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Press Release-Hite Ross Appointment

Date: Thursday, August 4, 2016

August 4th, 2016

State’s Attorney Joe Bruscato


The Chief of the Criminal Bureau for the Winnebago County State’s Attorney’s Office has been tapped to help prosecute a high profile murder case in Cook County.


Winnebago County State’s Attorney Joe Bruscato announced that Marilyn Hite Ross has been appointed as a special Assistant State’s Attorney for Kane County.  The State’s Attorney of Kane County, Joe McMahon has accepted a special prosecutor appointment from Cook County in the case of the People vs. Jason Van Dyke.  Van Dyke faces First Degree Murder charges in the October of 2014 death of Laquan McDonald that happened in Chicago.  The charges were filed by Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez in November of 2015.  Shortly after announcing the charges, State’s Attorney Alvarez withdrew from the case, citing a conflict of interest.

The Cook County Court then requested that State’s Attorneys from other counties in Illinois consider accepting an appointment as a special prosecutor.  Under Illinois law and practice, it is standard procedure to seek the assistance of other State’s Attorney’s in cases of conflict.  In an effort to build a trial team with the appropriate experience to handle a case of this magnitude, State’s Attorney McMahon contacted State’s Attorney Bruscato to ask that he consider joining his office in the prosecution.  State’s Attorney Bruscato agreed and tapped Ms. Hite Ross to be part of the experienced team that includes Kane County First Assistant State’s Attorney Jody Gleason, and two other Kane County Assistant State’s Attorneys Joe Cullen and Daniel Weller.


“Ms. Hite Ross spent 20 years as a prosecutor in Cook County, and has handled several notable criminal cases in her years here in Winnebago County.”, says State’s Attorney Bruscato.  “Her vast experience and knowledge of the law makes her the perfect addition to Kane County’s special prosecutorial team.”  Ms. Hite Ross will continue in her role as Chief of the Criminal Bureau for the Winnebago County State’s Attorney’s Office.  This appointment will not prevent her from fulfilling her duties to Winnebago County. 


The next court date in the People vs. Jason Van Dyke is scheduled for August 18th at 9:00am in front of the Honorable Judge Vincent Gaughan in Cook County. 

            The charges against the defendant are merely allegations and Mr. Van Dyke is presumed innocent until or unless he is proven guilty in a court of law. 



Alternative Justice & Outreach Coordinator

Katie Zimmerman

(815) 319-4725

Winnebago County
404 Elm Street
Rockford, IL 61101
OFC: (815) 319-4444

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