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SPECIAL REPORT: Deals For Dealers

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Transcript: SPECIAL REPORT: Deals For Dealers

((christie)) a woman who lost her only son to a heroin overdose -- reaches out to eyewitness news after recent reports of the growing epidemic here. ((jay)) she says drug dealers are getting away with murder -- by selling poison. and if they get caught -- they'll spend little time in prison. ((christie)) so is she right? greg cormier investigated -- and has this special report -- deals for dealers. tina miller--kyle christian's mother "he's got a slimjim hanging out of his mouth" rockton mom tina miller, looking at photos of her late son kyle christian. tina miller--kyle christian's mother "this picture is back in massachusetts, he had a band and this was in the patio, the screendoor patio, in my old house back in massachussets." like most 18 year olds heading into adulthood, kyle had big dreams. tina miller--kyle christian's mother "he was very artisitc, and the electric guitar when he was i would say 11,12 years old he just took to that electric guitar like a fish in water." the dream..... to maybe someday make music his career. but, that dream turned to tears when two loves park detectives showed up on tina's door step on a saturday afternoon in 2007. tina miller--kyle christian's mother "they came in with a sketch and they said 'do you own a black ford taurus?', and i said, 'yep'. i already knew, my heart just sank to my feet." kyle had overdosed on heroin and died. tina losing her only son to addiction. tina miller--kyle christian's mother "the first couple of years, boy, i just felt like the whole world was looking at me like they could see the pain in my face, i just reeked of pain" tina miller is still coping with the heartbreak caused by what now has become an epedemic across the nation. ten years removed, she still yearns for justice for those who put heroin into the hands of people like her son. tina miller--kyle christian's mother "there's no reason, it's common sense why this can't happen. i don't understand why we don't have stricter laws" her solution....harsher punishment for drug dealers. tina miller--kyle christian's mother "i'll guarantee you, if you interviewed anybody else, hundreds of people that have lost people, they are going to tell you the same thing, throw the key away, do what you have to do, but get it off the streets because this is not going to stop." chief judge joe mcgraw--17th judicial circuit court "it's okay to say lock them up, throw away the key. that's the most expensive option and it's also the least effective." winnebago county chief judge joe mcgraw believes prison is an option to punish dealers, but he says the job of the courts is to look at each case and offender individually. chief judge joe mcgraw--17th judicial circuit court "if the full range of sentencing options are available for probation with drug treatment to prison, you would have to make a determination as to the rehabilitative potential of the individual." mike rock--winn. co. deputy state's attorney "we take every instance of drug dealing very seriously" winnebago county deputy state's attorney mike rock is the head of winnebago county's drug prosecution unit. he says the multi agency efforts to put dealers behind bars is already strong. mike rock--winn. co. deputy state's attorney "the penalty range for the distributors is appropriate and i think that winnebago county, we are doing a good job, we work closely with law enforcement, we discuss most of all our dispositions with them so we know who the bad guys are." under state law, the larger the amount of the drug the dealer has in his possession, the longer their sentence. mike rock--winn. co. deputy state's attorney "so when you are uping the kilogram quantities then you are looking at 15-60 years in the department of corrections at 85%. the range goes down from there." but despite the possibility of longer sentences, some drug dealers get credit....allowing for their earlier release. for example....christop her owens was arrested in rockford back in 2012 for dealing heroin. he was sentenced in 20-14 for 7 years, but just three years later he was rearrested for the same crime. drug dealer antwon deshawn tate was sentenced for four years in 20-13 ... but was arrested again in 20-15 and then again in 20-17 ... the second time on another drug charge. just two examples of what critics say is a revolving prison door for those who would sell potentially deadly poison for cash. tina miller--kyle christian's mother to watch that perp, the dealer, go into a courthouse and get a little slap on the hand only to be let loose again so that same cop can put his life on the line and maybe get a bullet in his head, for what?" but legislators say changes aren't likely to come in the state house. rep. john cabello--(r) 68th district "now i don't see that that's going to be something that people in springfield are going to want. right now we are looking at prison reforms, we are not looking at increased penalties right now." rockford police officer and state representative john cabello believes their are better options for low level heroin users than prison. however, he agrees that more agressive sentencing is required for dealers. rep. john cabello--(r) 68th district "if you are a dealer, i have no sympathy for you whatsoever," but with that prison time, cabello says rehabilitation is crucial to making a difference. rep. john cabello--(r) 68th district "if we don't help with the programs or any programs in prison to help them break that cycle, they are going to come back out and they are going to reoffend because that is all they know. they don't have any other tool to utilize to try and better themselves." miller admits that her son made a choice to use heroin. but she believes that stopping the source will reap benefits beyond making it harder for addicts to buy drugs. tina miller--kyle christian's mother "it affect everybody, it affects the whole community, burglaries, crime, the whole nine yards. if we can stop it here, i'm thinking domino's affect house of cards. that house of cards should come down i hope." ((christie)) owens and tate were chosen at random based on the fact each of them were convicted drug dealers who had been re-arrested in recent weeks. both pleaded not guilty to the new charges against them. ((jay)) the legislators and the people in the criminal justice system say prison isn't the sole answer to solving the epidemic. cabello added early education, work with non- profits, and drug courts are just some of the facets that need to work together to have a wholistic approach to seeing change. ((walter)) that's what's making




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