Judge revokes bond of former police chief charged in corruption case
BY ZACH BUCHHEIT Staff Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org March 29, 2013 7:42PM
Country Club Hills Police Chief Regina Evans leaves the Monadnock building in 2009 after speaking with attorney Terry Gillespie regarding the Christopher Kelly case. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 1, 2013 3:39PM
SPRINGFIELD — A judge revoked bond Friday for former Country Club Hills Police Chief Regina Evans after she was charged earlier this month for allegedly tampering with a witness and obstructing justice in her federal corruption case.
Evans had been held on a recognizance bond for her 2012 indictment of allegedly misusing more than half of a $1.25 million state job-training grant that went to a non-profit she controlled with her husband, Ronald Evans Jr., who is also under federal indictment.
But on March 15 Evans was jailed in Springfield after being charged with allegedly coaching a key witness in the fraud case, Ashley Simon, two days before Simon provided false testimony before a grand jury last month.
Simon allegedly admitted to federal investigators she had lied under Evans’ direction to the grand jury about $17,000 in state grant funds she withdrew from the bank and $5,000 of which she deposited into Evans’ personal bank account.
After meeting on Feb. 6 with the grand jury, Simon allegedly sent Evans a text message saying, “I just got out if you think it’s okay to call me. It went horrible.”
Simon — who was supposed to be a mentor for Evans’ purported charity, We Are Our Brother’s Keeper — was controversially hired in 2010 as a part-time Country Club Hills police officer, a post she still holds full time but is currently on leave due to pregnancy.
After allegedly admitting she had lied to the grand jury, Simon agreed with federal investigators to wear a wire and record Evans in her Chicago home on Feb. 14, when Evans allegedly continued to say things like, “Never let them change your mind. . . . . Stay strong and we’ll get through this.”
Several tapes of recorded conversations, hundreds of pages of text messages between Evans and Simon and the testimony from U.S. Postal Inspector Basil Demczak, who conducted most of the investigation, were enough for the court to conclude Friday that there was probable cause for the charges.
After more than three hours of hearing, Judge Byron Cudmore decided to revoke Evans’ bond.
Evans — shackled and dressed in a gray and white striped jumpsuit with her family in the audience — sat motionless before Cudmore as he declared Evans unfit to rejoin the community for fear she could tamper with other witnesses.
Arguing for Evans’ release on bond, her lawyer, Lawrence Beaumont, told the court that Simon had “basically showed up on [Evans’] doorstep and asked to be tampered with.”
“It’s not like she’s going from witness to witness to witness and saying, ‘change your story, lie or whatever,’” Beaumont said of his client.
Beaumont also informed the court that Evans’ mother, Essie McCoy, was willing to put up her homes in Chicago and Alabama for bond and that Pastor Shirley Hughes of the Inspirational Deliverance Center Church of God in Christ — where Evans has been a member since 2008 — was willing to act as third-party custodian.
But Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy Bass, who prosecuted on behalf of the government, argued Evans has a “corrupt state of mind” based on her recorded conversations with Simon.
“A new charge and a new arrest following a different arrest and charge is not some magic wand,” he said. “We’ve proven what she is likely to do, and that is to commit another offense.”