Illinois Parole Board Members Resign After Releasing 11-Year-Old’s Killer

( – Two members of the Illinois parole board have resigned after a massive public backlash against a lethal decision they made. In mid-March, they released a violent criminal less than halfway through his sentence — even though he’d already violated parole conditions. Less than 24 hours after he was freed, he allegedly stabbed a child to death.

Early Release Was Controversial

In October of 2023, Crosetti Brand was released seven years into a 16-year prison sentence for home invasion and aggravated assault. Not long after he was released he started sending threatening text messages to ex-girlfriend Latteria Smith, who he’d had a relationship with until she ended it in 2015 (four days later he attacked her). Smith had a lifetime protection order against Brand, but that didn’t stop him from sending the messages, and then escalating by showing up at her house. In February he was rearrested and returned to prison for violating his parole conditions by threatening Smith.

Smith then applied for another protection order, and a Cook County judge ordered her and Brand to attend a court hearing on March 13. However, Illinois Prisoner Review Board member LeAnn Miller then wrote a recommendation for Brand to be paroled again on March 12 — and, despite him having been sent back to prison for parole violation just weeks earlier, Board chairman Donald Shelter approved it.

The next day, Brand allegedly ambushed Smith as she left her home with her 11-year-old son Jayden Perkins. He stabbed the pregnant 33-year-old in the neck, seriously injuring her — then, when her son tried to protect his mother, Brand stabbed him to death. He was caught on video running from the scene and throwing away the murder weapon.

Parole Board Makes Excuses

The Illinois Prisoner Review Board and Illinois Department of Corrections both claimed they didn’t know about the protection order hearing when they approved Brand’s release, but that story collapsed when CBS 2 obtained emails that showed officials knew about the hearing no later than February 22. The case caused public outrage, with many wondering why a man who’d violated parole so seriously would be paroled again just weeks later.

It seems the Prisoner Review Board doesn’t have any good answers to that question, because on March 25 Illinois Governor JB Pritzker (D) announced that Shelter and Miller were both resigning. Pritzker’s office also confirmed that Miller had carried out Brand’s parole hearing and recommended his release. He admitted that evidence of Brand’s violent past wasn’t properly considered, and promised “additional safeguards and training” to stop it happening again.

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