Toronto Library Worker Pleads Guilty to 1969 Chicago Shooting

Toronto Library Worker Pleads Guilty to 1969 Chicago Shooting

A former research assistant at the Toronto Public Library’s central reference library, who had fled to Canada following the shooting of a Chicago police officer in 1969, pled guilty to a charge of aggravated battery February 22.

In an unusual plea agreement, Joseph Pannell, 58, will serve only 30 days in jail and two years’ probation and will pay $250,000 to the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation, which aids children of police officers wounded in the line of duty, the Chicago Tribune reported February 23.

Pannell gave up fighting extradition and voluntarily returned to Chicago in early February. He was arrested in Canada in 2004 after living there for over three decades and raising a family under the name of Douglas Gary Freeman. The Chicago police cold-case unit, with the assistance of the FBI, located Pannell through fingerprint records.

At age 19, Pannell shot Officer Terrence Knox when the officer stopped him to ask why he wasn’t inside a nearby high school. Knox’s family came up with the idea of the $250,000 donation, much of which came from Canadian supporters and Chicago-area criminal-defense lawyers.

Posted on February 29, 2008. Discuss.