Involuntary manslaughter

Former Batavia auxiliary cop likely to be released from prison soon

Bill Catching


In a disappointing verdict for the county's top prosecutor, a jury found an Aurora man guilty of involuntary manslaughter in last year's death of his fiancé's 4-year-old daughter.

"I just came from a mother and father whose child is dead (the defendant will) be out soon," Kane County State's Attorney David Akemann said after the verdict was announced early today. "How can I explain that to them?"

Prosecutors had sought a first-degree murder conviction and the death penalty for Kevin Willing, 24, of the 0-99 block of North Western Avenue.

Willing admitted beating 4-year-old Samantha Jo Haight last February after she wet the bed and threw a temper.

Willing "mentally slow"

Nevertheless, a psychologist who evaluated Willing in June 1992, after he applied to become a St. Charles police officer, described him as a mentally slow, impulsive person. He barely passed the psychological tests to become a police officer, Robert Stoner said.

"I thought that there was a risk that something could happen, particularly if he was faced with a lot of stress and tension," Stoner said.

Prosecutors contended that Willing's lack of control did not excuse his actions.

Akemann, in his first felony trial as the county's elected top prosecutor, assigned himself and Cullen to the Willing case. To back up a campaign pledge to show no mercy to child abusers, Akemann decided to pursue the death penalty.

Willing retained Camic and Gary Johnson, who stepped down as Kane County state's attorney last year to return to private practice, as his defense attorneys.

"We thought the evidence was sufficient for an acquittal, but we're still pleased with the jury's verdict," Camic said.

Judge James Doyle set Willing's sentencing for April 15.