Former Illinois Fire Chief, Wife Sent to Prison

"You were never a fireman," the judge told the chief at sentencing.

Then DeBoer and Gerald Kielian, Cheri Drick's lawyer, asked the judge to give their clients probation. They cited several reasons, including the fact that Joe Drick has been active in his church and was studying to become a minister.

Near the end of the hearing, Cheri Drick spoke to the judge. When she started speaking, she rushed through the words and didn't raise her voice. Kielian had to push her toward a lectern in the front of the room so the judge could hear. "The relationship that Gladys and I shared was very special, to me as well as Gladys," Cheri Drick said, her voice choking with tears. "I loved Gladys as much as my own grandmother." The Drick family even called her "Grandma Gladys," she said.

"I'm sorry it had to turn out this way," Cheri Drick told the judge.

When it was Joe Drick's turn, the former fire chief was smooth and polished. He urged the judge to chose probation as a sentence. If he could stay out of prison, he could find a job and repay the estate, Joe Drick said.

But Livas didn't buy it.

He gave a stirring speech that moved some people in the crowd to tears. It recognized Boetto, Gavlin and Farrington's neighbors for the things they did for the elderly woman. "Joliet and Will County should be proud of the fact that there are people like that," Livas said.

He also talked about firefighters and their unflinching bravery, particularly Sept. 11, 2001, when the Twin Towers fell in New York City. Then he looked right at Joe Drick.

"You were never a fireman," Livas said, his voice cold.

Gladys Farrington was a vulnerable woman who trusted the Dricks and considered them friends, he said. To her, they were glamorous friends with powerful roles in the community. In the end, the Dricks conned her. And despite their claims, they didn't care about Farrington at all, Livas said. All they cared about was her bank accounts.

"Money seems to be their God. When they needed it, they stole it. And when they're about to go to prison, (they'll) give it back," he said.

Copyright 2007, Sun-Times News Group