UPDATE: Ill. man sentenced to more than 100 years for murder of Wis. woman

UPDATED Tuesday, April 8, 2014 --- 10:40 a.m.

From our news partner WIFR in Rockford:

UPDATE: ROCKFORD (WIFR) – Kody Walsh will spend more than 100 years in prison. He was convicted for the First Degree murder of Lori Daniels in 2012.

For the first time, we heard from Kody Walsh who publicly apologized to Lori Daniels’ family, saying he’s sorry for their loss.

Judge John Truitt sentenced Walsh to 116 years in prison. He says he took Walsh’s apology into consideration, however Judge Truitt called this “an evil and inexplicable cowardly act” claiming Walsh shot Daniels for no apparent reason. Earlier today, prosecutors read statements from Daniels’ family who described her as a social and loving mom. Last month, a jury convicted Walsh of three counts o murder for the death of Lori Daniels. He shot her twice in the head while they were riding in a car on I-90. Walsh then led police on a high-speed chase from South Beloit before crashing his car in Rockford.

Assistant State’s Attorney Marilyn Hite Ross says she believes this is the start of healing for the family of Lori Daniels, claiming justice was served. The defense didn’t wish to comment.

We also heard from Kody’s sister Sierra who said they grew up in poverty, yet Judge John Truitt says that’s no excuse for Kody’s behavior. The judge also says a key factor in this sentencing was Kody Walsh’s criminal history. The judge pointed out that Walsh has been in and out of the system since he was about 12 years old.

Walsh is convicted of shooting Lori Daniels to death while driving on I-90 near South Beloit back in September 2012. He then led authorities on a week-long manhunt throughout several states. That ultimately led to his arrest in Tennessee.
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UPDATE: ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Some potential closure for the family of a woman brutally gunned down on I-90 in 2012 after a jury convicts Kody Walsh of murder. The decision comes after six hours of deliberations. Walsh could face life in prison; however he’ll walk away from some other serious charges.

Walsh is guilty on three counts of first degree murder for shooting Lori Daniels twice in the head. As the verdict was read Walsh kept his focus forward, not showing much emotion, as was the case through most of the trial.

That guilty verdict means Walsh will spend 45 years to life in prison. In addition to the murder charges, Walsh was found guilty of Aggravated Unlawful Restraint and Aggravated Fleeing From Police. Prosecutors proved that charge through dash cam video from a squad car as Walsh led police on a high-speed chase from South Beloit all the way to Rockford.

Walsh was found not guilty for the Attempted Murder of Ebert Davison, Walsh's friend who was driving the SUV when Daniels was murdered. Walsh was also acquitted of the Attempted Murder and Aggravated Discharge of a Firearm of two police officers who were involved in that chase with Walsh.

Despite the not guilty verdicts one of the officers and prosecutors say they're still very happy with the jury's decision.

"It's finally over and hopefully the family feels better about it and can move on with the rest of their lives," South Beloit Police Officer James Sanders, said.

"We're very pleased with the jury’s hard work to try and bring justice to Lori Daniels, and to bring a sense of closure to her family," Marilyn Hite-Ross, Chief of Criminal Bureau for the Winnebago County State’s Attorney’s Office, said.

There was a little confusion when the verdict came down. The jury didn't fill out one of the verdict forms, so the judge sent them back into the deliberation room. A few minutes later they returned to the courtroom and announced their decision.

Walsh faces 45 years to life in prison. He'll be sentenced on April 7, 2014.

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UPDATED Monday, February 24, 2014 --- 7:17 p.m.

ROCKFORD, Ill. (AP) -- Jury selection has started in the trial of a Rockford man accused of killing a Wisconsin woman in 2012.

The Rockford Register Star reports that proceedings started Monday in 24-year-old Kody Walsh's trial. He faces charges of first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder. He is accused of shooting 36-year-old Lori A. Daniels of Afton, Wis., while they were passengers in a vehicle near South Beloit.

Walsh also is accused of trying to kill the driver of the vehicle. Walsh fled and was captured a week later in Memphis, Tenn., after a high-speed chase with police.

Walsh has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press
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UPDATED Wednesday, September 19, 2012 --- 6:50 p.m.

From our sister station, WIFR in Rockford:

WINNEBAGO COUNTY (WIFR) -- The man accused of shooting a Beloit woman to death, has pleaded not guilty to two counts of first degree murder.

Today was Kody Walsh’s presentment in Winnebago county, but he wasn't actually in the courtroom. He was there via video conference and our cameras were not allowed in the courtroom.

Walsh's attorney, Ryan Swift, says Walsh has pleaded not guilty in the shooting death of 36-year-old Lori Daniels.

Walsh allegedly shot her about a week and a half ago, near I-90. They were riding in the same car, after leaving a Rockford strip club earlier that night. On Sunday, he was caught near Memphis, Tennessee, after leading police on a high speed chase.

Bond has not yet been set for Walsh. He'll be in court next on October 11th, where he's expected to be reassigned a judge.

Several members of Walsh’s family attended the presentment today, but nobody wanted to comment on the case.

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UPDATED Wednesday, September 19, 2012 --- 12:08 p.m.

From our sister station, WIFR in Rockford:

WINNEBAGO COUNTY (WIFR) -- The man accused of killing a Beloit woman more than a week ago, is back in Winnebago County, where he'll face murder charges. Kody Walsh was in court at 9:00 yesterday morning, in Shelby County, Tennessee, where he waived his extradition hearing and was escorted back to Winnebago County by the Illinois State Police and the Winnebago County Sheriff's Department.

You may recall, Walsh was captured in Tennessee on Sunday, after leading police on a high-speed chase, the same thing he did to local authorities more than a week ago. He's charged in the death of Lori Daniels, after allegedly shooting her in the head from the backseat of a car. Winnebago county State's Attorney Joe Bruscato is commending authorities for how they handled this case.

"I'm certainly at a standpoint from the State's Attorney interested in the case proceeding sooner than later so I have to commend the respective jurisdictions that we worked with, Shelby County,” said Bruscato.

Walsh was originally charged in Shelby County with aggravated assault, fleeing, and leaving the scene of an accident, but those charges were dismissed so he could be extradited back to Winnebago County.

Walsh will appear in court this afternoon, and an arraignment date will be set for shortly after that. He currently faces two counts of first-degree murder. If Walsh is convicted he could be sentenced to life in prison.

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UPDATED Monday, September 17, 2012 --- 11:26 p.m.

From our sister station, WIFR in Rockford:

ROCKFORD (WIFR) – There are new developments in the Kody Walsh murder investigation that has now spanned across multiple states.

Police say the suspect's getaway car found in Tennessee over the weekend was stolen from Rockford.

We're starting to learn more about how police caught Walsh in Tennessee Sunday afternoon. Investigators say he tried to conceal his identity by shaving his head, even giving detectives a fake name when he was taken into custody.

Here's what we know about his arrest. Investigators say Memphis Police originally tried to pull the suspect over when they noticed something illegal with his license plates. That's when they say he hit the gas pedal and led police on a 45 minute high speed chase through three Tennessee counties. He ended up hitting two parked cars before losing a tire and crashing into a light pole. He tried to run but was caught by deputies up the road. Investigators found a stolen gun and 40 rounds of ammunition in the vehicle.

"I think I feel more of a relief to the community to know there is not someone out there on a first degree murder warrant there job is not done, they have someone in custody and will learn more about what happened that night," said Captain James Winters with the Illinois State Police.

Meanwhile, the victim, 36-year-old Lori Daniels was laid to rest this morning in Beloit. Friends and family members are relieved Walsh is in custody. Local investigators are heading to Tennessee to question Walsh.

In the case of extraditing Walsh back to Illinois, he appears in court tomorrow morning in Tennessee. He has an option to come back to the area, and if he decides not to, it could take up to 90 days for another hearing.

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UPDATED: Monday, September 17, 8:35 a.m.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- Authorities in western Tennessee have captured a fugitive wanted in connection with an Illinois murder.

WMC-TV reported officers arrested Kody Walsh on Sunday after a chase that began with an attempted routine traffic stop.

The pursuit began in Fayette County, east of Memphis, after Walsh didn't pull over for a traffic violation. A deputy gave chase on Interstate 40 and the car continued into Shelby County, where it struck a vehicle. The chase ended in Memphis when the car struck a utility pole. Walsh tried to get away on foot, but was captured.

Authorities in Rockford, Ill., want Walsh in the shooting death of a woman on Interstate 90 a week ago.

He faces Tennessee charges including eluding police, leaving the scene of an accident and weapons possession.

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Information from: WMC-TV, http://www.wmctv.com/

Copyright 2012: Associated Press
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UPDATED Sunday, September 16, 2012 --- 8:22 p.m.

Press Release from the Illinois State Police:

Rockford, Ill. – On Sunday, September 16, 2012, at approximately 2:00 P.M., Kody R. Walsh was located near Memphis, Tennessee and was arrested by local Tennessee law enforcement.

Local law enforcement attempted to stop Walsh during a traffic contact but Walsh fled from officers. The pursuit ended when Walsh's vehicle crashed and he was taken into custody. A firearm and rounds of ammunition were located in the vehicle when Walsh was arrested.

Illinois State Police investigators will be working with Tennessee officials and the Winnebago County States Attorney to coordinate the extradition of Walsh to Rockford.

A no-bond, first degree murder warrant was issued for Walsh’s arrest following the September 9, 2012 shooting death of Lori Ann Daniels, 36, of Beloit, Wisconsin.

All suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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UPDATED Sunday, September 16, 2012 --- 8:52 p.m.

From our sister station, WIFR in Rockford:

Investigators say 22-year old Kody Walsh is in custody in Tennessee.

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UPDATED Sunday, September 16, 2012 --- 11:30 a.m.

From our sister station, WIFR in Rockford:

STATELINE (WIFR) -- The manhunt for suspected killer Kody Walsh is still underway and police say there's no indication he has left Rockford.

Police are still following up on leads, and there are police officers out there right now whose only job is to find Kody Walsh.

Police say since Sunday, there have been some reports that Walsh shaved his head, but police haven't been able to confirm that he's changed his appearance.

Police are concentrating their search in Winnebago County. They say there have been a lot of legitimate tips coming in, but they just simply aren't panning out.

Many people have been asking about the driver of the car. Court documents show he's been in trouble before for gang activity, but the charges didn't stick. Police won't confirm whether he's in the same gang as Kody Walsh, but the two are long-time friends.

Walsh's cousin, Tabitha Pruitt, says police are telling the family a different story, and the driver has more to do with what happened than anyone's letting on.

We want justice for Lori as well as all of her friends and all of her family," Pruitt says.

"We also want my cousin Kody brought in safely so we can have answers for our family as well as hers. No one has any facts. They just have hearsay from a witness that's not even a credible witness."

Pruitt says the driver of the car is a high-ranking gang member.

Police say the driver’s story matches up with what they think happened that night and he's not a suspect, but forensic evidence has yet to corroborate all details.

Beloit Police refuse to release the 911 call to the media, but say the driver went to a neighbor and a neighbor called police the night of the incident.

Walsh's family insists that he's not dangerous, and he's not the type of person to commit random acts of violence, so people in the community shouldn't be afraid.

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UPDATED Tuesday, September 11, 2012 --- 9:15 a.m.

BELOIT, Wis. (AP) -- Authorities are looking for an Illinois man suspected of fatally shooting a Janesville woman.

Officials say 36-year-old Lori Daniels was shot in the head in a vehicle on Interstate 39/90 near South Beloit, Ill.

Beloit Police Capt. Vince Sciame says the shooting was reported to his department about 2 a.m. Sunday by someone who was inside the vehicle.

Police tell the Beloit Daily News (http://tinyurl.com/9grd32j ) that the vehicle is a green 2002 Ford Explorer with Wisconsin license plates.

A South Beloit police officer spotted the vehicle and began pursuing it with speeds reaching up to 100 mph. Other officers joined the pursuit and the chase ended in Rockford, Ill., where the suspect vehicle crashed into a fence and fled on foot, firing at least one shot at the pursuing officers.

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Information from: Beloit Daily News, http://www.beloitdailynews.com

Copyright 2012. The Associated Press.

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UPDATED Monday, September 10, 2012 --- 10:58 p.m.

From our sister station, WIFR in Rockford:

Illinois State Police and multiple law enforcement agencies from across the Stateline are searching for the murder suspect of a homicide that occurred around 2:00 a.m. Sunday morning. The suspect has been identified as Kody Walsh, 22 of Rockford who police say fatally shot Lori Daniels, 36, of Janesville, Wisconsin. The two were driving on I90 near the Wisconsin border when a witness saw Walsh shoot Daniels in the head.

Police chased the suspect into the Rockford area where he ended up crashing through a gate near the intersection of School and Springfield. That's where officers say the suspect fired multiple rounds at investigators but did not end up hitting anyone.

State Police investigators say officers didn't fire back because the area was dark, and they were unsure who, if anyone, was behind him. They were afraid of hitting houses in the background or bystanders.

Detectives, with the help of SWAT teams and other agencies spent several hours looking for the suspect on the ground and in the air. Witnesses say nearby homes and neighborhoods were also searched.

Police also say Walsh and Daniels were at State Street Station in Rockford Saturday evening. They say Daniels asked an acquaintance to drive her home to Beloit. Daniels sat in the front seat and Walsh, who is friends with the driver (whose name is not being released), sat in the backseat.

Police say they don't know what allegedly provoked Walsh, but he and Daniels were not dating and were not friends. Police say Daniels was not a dancer at State Street Station.

Police say after Walsh shot Daniels in the head, he held the driver at gunpoint. The driver pulled over and Walsh beat him up outside of the vehicle. That's when Walsh allegedly took the car and drove off with the body still in the front seat.

The driver has been questioned and released, and is not a suspect.

Walsh was arrested in 2008 for aggravated discharge of a firearm. Court documents say he fired multiple shots into a car of people, but nobody was hurt. We was sentenced to four years in prison in January, 2009, but has since been released.

He has also faced past charges of domestic violence. Court records suggest he's a member of the gang St. Disciples.

Kody R. Walsh is still at large and a no bond warrant for 1st degree murder has been issued by a Winnebago County Judge.

Walsh should be considered armed and dangerous. Anyone having information on Walsh’s whereabouts should contact the Illinois State Police at 815-987-7440 or the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department at 815-319-6300. A $1000 award is available for anyone who has information which leads to Walsh's arrest.

We'll keep you updated as more information becomes available.

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UPDATED Monday, September 10, 2012 --- 4:30 p.m.

The search is still on for 22-year-old Kody Walsh. He is accused of killing 36-year-old Lori Ann Daniels, 36, early Sunday morning while traveling I90/The Illinois Tollway.

Beloit Police now tell NBC15 News a third person was in the car when the murdered allegedly occurred.

Walsh allegedly forced this man to keep driving to Beloit.

Once in Beloit, the third person was released. That's when Walsh took the car.

South Beloit Police located and attempted to stop the vehicle and the vehicle fled. South Beloit Police were joined by Rockton Police in attempting to stop the vehicle. The pursuit ended when the vehicle crashed near Springfield Road and School Street in Rockford.

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UPDATED Monday, September 10, 2012 --- 11:45 a.m.

From the Illinois State Police:

Rockford, Ill. – On September 9, 2012, at approximately 2:00 A.M., a female passenger inside a vehicle traveling on I-90 near South Beloit was fatally shot by another occupant of the vehicle.

South Beloit Police located and attempted to stop the vehicle and the vehicle fled. South Beloit Police were joined by Rockton Police in attempting to stop the vehicle. The pursuit ended when the vehicle crashed near Springfield Road and School Street in Rockford.

Following the crash, the suspect fled on foot after shooting a weapon at police. Officers did not return fire at the suspect and no officers were injured. A search of the area involving multiple law enforcement agencies was coordinated by the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Police.

Illinois State Police Crime Scene Technicians processed the scene of the crash, which included the body of the female shooting victim.

The suspect being sought by Illinois State Police is Kody R. Walsh, 22, Rockford.

Update: The female shooting victim has been identified as Lori Ann Daniels, 36, of Beloit, Wisconsin.

Kody R. Walsh is still at large and a no bond warrant for 1st degree murder has been issued by a Winnebago County Judge.

Walsh should be considered armed and dangerous. Anyone having information on Walsh’s whereabouts should contact the Illinois State Police at 815-987-7440 or the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department at 815-319-6300.

All suspects are presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.

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UPDATED Monday, September 10, 2012 --- 11:15 a.m.

From the South Beloit Police Department:

On Sunday, September 9, 2012 at approximately 4:25 a.m., the South Beloit Police Department was notified by the Rock County Sheriff's Department that a reported homicide had occurred in Winnebago County.

The suspect was driving a green 2002 Ford Explorer with a Wisconsin registration.

South Beloit Officers observed the vehicle and attempted to initiate a traffic stop. The driver fled south into Rockford where the vehicle ultimately crashed near the intersection of Springfield Ave. and School Street.

The driver fled on foot while shooting at least one round at the officers.

A deceased female body was found in the vehicle.

She is identified as 36-year-old Lori Daniels of Janesville.

The suspect has been identified as 22-year-old Kody Walsh of Rockford, Illinois.

He's a white male, approximately 5'10", 140lbs with long dark hair.

He is considered to be armed and dangerous.

South Beloit had assistance from many surrounding agencies.

The case if being investigated by the Illinois State Police.

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UPDATED Monday, September 10, 2012 --- 8:10 a.m.

Information from our sister station, WIFR in Rockford, IL:

Illinois State Police and multiple law enforcement agencies from across the Stateline are searching for a murder suspect.

The suspect has been identified as Kody Walsh, 22 of Rockford.

Police say he fatally shot Lori Daniels, 36, of Janesville.

The two were driving on I90/The Illinois Tollway near the Wisconsin border when a witness saw Walsh shoot Daniels in the head.

Stay with NBC15.com for continuing coverage.

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Posted Sunday, September 9, 2012 --- 1:18 p.m.

Information from our sister station, WIFR in Rockford, IL:

LATEST: Suspect still on the loose and is considered dangerous. He's identified as 22 year old Kody Walsh of Rockford.

ROCKFORD (WIFR)-- Illinois State Police and multiple law enforcement agencies from across the Stateline are searching for a murder suspect who they say fatally shot a woman passenger on I90 near the Wisconsin border at around 4:30 a.m. Sunday morning.

Police chased the suspect into the Rockford area where he ended up crashing through a gate near the intersection of School and Springfield. That's where officers say the suspect fired multiple rounds at investigators but did not end up hitting anyone.

Detectives, with the help of SWAT teams and other agencies spent several hours looking for the suspect on the ground and in the air. Witnesses say nearby homes and neighborhoods were also searched.


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