Court affirms sentence for college student’s abductor

Chronicle Media

Justin Dalcollo

The Third District Appellate Court has affirmed the 101-year sentence for the man who abducted, sexually assaulted and robbed a female college student in 2019.

In his petition seeking a new sentencing hearing, Justin Dalcollo claimed that the trial court abused its discretion in sentencing and improperly imposed consecutive sentences.

At 3:30 p.m. March 22, 2019, the victim, who was home from college on spring break, was getting into her car in the parking lot at Bloomingdale Court Mall when Dalcollo approached her and forced his way into her car at gunpoint. He then ordered the woman to drive to a bank in Glendale Heights and forced her to withdraw $300 with her debit card for him.

He then forced her to drive to numerous locations in Hanover Park and Bartlett, ultimately parking the car in a parking garage at the Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin where Dalcollo sexually assaulted her.

Following the assault, Dalcollo ordered the victim to drive to a convenience store and accompany him inside. He then ordered the woman to call a cab for him from her cell phone and drive him to the Elgin train station, where the cab picked him up. The victim then went to a hospital where she reported the sexual assault.

An investigation led to Dalcollo being taken into custody the following day in Chicago.

On Dec. 13, 2021, following a five-day trial, a jury found Dalcollo guilty of six counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault, one count of armed robbery, one count of aggravated kidnapping, all Class X felonies; and two counts of unlawful use of a weapon by a felon, a Class 2 felony.

Class X felonies are punishable to six to 30 years in prison. Class 2 felonies are punishable by three to seven years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.

On May 2, 2022, DuPage Circuit Court Judge Ann Celine O’Hallaren Walsh sentenced Dalcollo to two consecutive sentences of 40 years’ imprisonment for two counts of the aggravated criminal sexual assault charges and a consecutive 21-year sentence for aggravated kidnapping. The sentences on the remaining charges ran concurrently, for a aggregate sentence of 101 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.

At his sentencing hearing, the court noted Dalcollo’s lengthy criminal history with “back-to-back convictions for domestic battery” as well as the fact that Dalcollo was on parole for an unlawful sexual conduct with a minor conviction in Ohio when he removed his ankle monitor, fled and committed the DuPage County offense.

The court also found that a significant sentence was necessary to reassure the public that “the defendant cannot commit incomprehensible criminal acts on any other citizen,” concluding that Dalcollo’s actions have “forfeited him from ever re-entering society.”

In their analysis, the Third District Appellate Court justices disagreed with Dalcollo’s assertions that the court abused its discretion at sentencing and failed to “take into account any potential for rehabilitation.”

The justices noted that the trial court considered and weighed mitigating including Dalcollo’s “difficult childhood as a victim of abuse and mental illness,” but concluded that the evidence “did not significantly deprecate the seriousness of the offense or warrant the imposition of a lesser sentence.”

In determining Dalcollo’s lack of potential for rehabilitation, the trial court noted his violent criminal history as well as his refusal “to abide by any authority or the law,” his “pattern of taking whatever he wants, whenever he wants” and his continued “defiant behavior” and “inability to control himself” while in custody.

The Appellate Court concluded that “in light of the nature of the defendant’s 10 convictions, and the court’s finding that his actions were ‘deplorable’ and ‘reprehensible’ and the defendant was ‘incapable of rehabilitation,’ the trial court did not abuse its discretion when sentencing defendant.”

“I thank the Appellate Court for their thorough analysis of this case and their finding that a 101-year sentence is not appropriate, but warranted in this case,” DuPage County State Attorney Robert Berlin said. “The violent kidnapping and sexual assault at gunpoint of a young woman at home from school for spring break severely damaged not just the victim, but her family as well, and shook an entire community to its core.

“The Appellate Court’s decision guarantees that Mr. Dalcollo will spend the rest of his life behind bars, a sentence he has most certainly earned. I thank Kane County State’s Attorney Jamie Mosser and her office for their collaboration on this case. I commend DuPage County Assistant State’s Attorneys Jim Scaliatine and Jaclyn McAndrew as well as Kane County Assistant State’s Attorney Lori Schmidt for their outstanding efforts in ensuring Mr. Dalcollo will never again terrorize an innocent woman.”