Illinois parole board member resigns after convict stabbed his ex-girlfriend’s 11-year-old son to death as he tried to protect her – a DAY after being freed from jail

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Written By Maya Cantina
  • LeAnn Miller, 63, sat on the Illinois Prisoner Review Board resigned after she approved the release of a man who attacked a woman, fatally stabbing her son
  • Crosetti Brand, violated protection orders assaulting Laterria Smith, resulting in the death of her 11-year-old son, Jayden Perkins, who tried to protect her
  •  Smith is hospitalized, but her unborn child is expected to survive, while her younger son remained unharmed during the attack

A state parole board member resigned on Monday after recommending the release of a man who a day later attacked a pregnant Chicago woman with a knife and fatally stabbed her 11-year-old son while he tried to protect her, according to authorities.

The Illinois Prisoner Review Board’s handling of the case prompted Governor J.B. Pritzker to order that procedures for dealing with situations involving domestic violence be revamped.

Pritzker announced that LeAnn Miller, 63, of Junction had submitted her resignation. 

It was Miller who had prepared a report recommending Crosetti Brand’s release from prison. She had served on the board since September 2021 having spent 20 years working in the Illinois Department of Corrections and 35 years in education at School District 428.

The 37-year-old felon had repeatedly violated orders of protection and threatened Laterria Smith of Chicago, police said. 

11-year-old Jayden Perkins was stabbed to death trying to protect his pregnant mother 

Crosetti Brand, 37, had been freed on parole just one day prior to the deadly attack. He is back in prison and charged with first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder

Crosetti Brand, 37, had been freed on parole just one day prior to the deadly attack. He is back in prison and charged with first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker said Miller made 'the correct decision in stepping down' from the Illinois Prisoner Review Board

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker said Miller made ‘the correct decision in stepping down’ from the Illinois Prisoner Review Board 

On March 13, investigators said that Brand went to Smith’s apartment armed with a knife and assaulted her. 

When her son, Jayden Perkins, intervened, Brand stabbed him to death, police said.

Chicago Police Superintendent Larry Snelling said that Brand had been released on parole just one day before the attack. 

Smith, 33, remains hospitalized in critical condition but doctors expect her and her unborn child to live. 

Her six-year-old son was also present during the attack but was uninjured.

A message seeking comment was left at a number associated with Miller’s home and with the Prisoner Review Board.

Pritzker said in a news release that she made ‘the correct decision in stepping down.’

‘It is clear that evidence in this case was not given the careful consideration that victims of domestic violence deserve and I am committed to ensuring additional safeguards and training are in place to prevent tragedies like this from happening again,’ Pritzker said in a statement.

Jayden Perkins, 11, was stabbed to death after he stepped in to try and protect his mother

Jayden Perkins, 11, was stabbed to death after he stepped in to try and protect his mother 

Chicago Police Superintendent Larry Snelling said Brand was released on parole the day before he carried out the attack

Chicago Police Superintendent Larry Snelling said Brand was released on parole the day before he carried out the attack

A photo of Jayden Perkins, a 11-year-old boy who was stabbed to death in his home seen at a memorial outside Perkin's home in Chicago

A photo of Jayden Perkins, a 11-year-old boy who was stabbed to death in his home seen at a memorial outside Perkin’s home in Chicago

Following board procedure, two other board members, Ken Tupy and Krystal Tison, concurred with Miller’s draft order.

Pritzker ordered the Prisoner Review Board to ‘engage experts and advocates to design and implement expanded training’ in domestic violence cases for the 15-member board. 

The board and the Department of Corrections will also review procedures for sharing information on cases involving domestic violence. Pritzker said the case might also raise issues which require legislation to broaden officials’ legal authority in such instances.

Brand, who police say had a relationship with Smith 20 years ago, is charged in Cook County with first-degree murder and a half-dozen other violent felonies related to the attack. 

Smith had an order of protection against the suspect 15 years prior to this month’s month’s attack for repeatedly threatening and attacking her and her mother, in an unrelated case.

His abuse began in September 2006 after Smith broke up with the suspect. Brand came to her house and threatened her with a gun, firing it in the hallway before leaving.

Alicia Perkins, center, an aunt to the father of Jayden Perkins, holds balloons outside Perkin's home in Chicago at a memorial for Jayden, who was killed

Alicia Perkins, center, an aunt to the father of Jayden Perkins, holds balloons outside Perkin’s home in Chicago at a memorial for Jayden, who was killed

Neighbors embraced one another earlier this month grieving the death of Jayden Perkins

Neighbors embraced one another earlier this month grieving the death of Jayden Perkins

Cops seen outside the family's apartment complex, seen earlier this month, investigating the crime scene

 Cops seen outside the family’s apartment complex, seen earlier this month, investigating the crime scene

Brand continued to harass the family, throwing rocks at their window and calling them obsessively. Two years after the breakup, he reportedly punched the mother at a bus stop for dating someone else. 

He had served half of a 16-year sentence for attacking another ex-partner in 2015 when he was paroled last October.

Brand was shipped back to prison in February after being accused of repeatedly contacting Smith, who has an order of protection against him. 

He turned himself in after Smith reported he was at the door to her apartment on February 1, repeatedly ringing the bell and pulling on the handle.

But when Brand appeared before the Prisoner Review Board on February 26, he denied going to her apartment and his lawyer provided evidence that his electronic monitoring bracelet did not indicate violations of his movement restrictions, according to a copy of the board’s order. 

He answered other reported parole violations by saying he sometimes worked late hours at a Red Lobster restaurant.

The board determined there wasn’t enough evidence to verify Smith’s claims, although she was not called to testify.

In addition to murder Brand has also been charged with three counts of home invasion with a dangerous weapon, one count of armed robbery with a dangerous weapon, one count of aggravated domestic battery, one count of unlawful use of a weapon by a felon, one count of violation of a prior order of protection and one issuance of a warrant for a parole violation. 

The attack happened at this apartment complex earlier in the month

The attack happened at this apartment complex earlier in the month

'No one can replace him. No one can take his place,' Perkins' friend Alexis Perez said.

‘No one can replace him. No one can take his place,’ Perkins’ friend Alexis Perez said.

A fundraiser has been made to support Perkins' family during this time

A fundraiser has been made to support Perkins’ family during this time

Neighbors held a vigil for11-year-old Perkins outside the apartment complex days after the March 13 attack. 

‘No one can replace him. No one can take his place,’ Perkins’ friend Alexis Perez told local ABC affiliate WLS.’

‘He’s the kindest, trustworthy friend you could probably ever ask for,’ Perkins’ friend Nathaniel Vodak, 12, told WLS.

A fundraiser has been made to support the victim’s family raised more than $27,000.

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