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Another Professor Killed

By Anonymous in News on Aug 3, 2005 6:00PM

Velton Lacefield--Photo: Velton Lacefield-Cole, a professor at Prairie State College in Chicago Heights, was shot dead last night in her South-Suburban home. Her estranged husband, Anthony E. Cole, allegedly killed her before turning the gun on himself, leaving their bodies to be discovered by Lacefield-Cole's 11-year-old son. Willie Cole, Anthony's brother, tells the Trib: "Initially, the thought that my brother did it is hard to believe. That's not the kind of person he is." This guy has got to be going through one hell of a grieving process, but come on. Lacefield-Cole had recently filed for divorce and police were called twice this weekend to the house the couple continued to share. We think it really sucks that the people who should have been this woman's support system utterly failed--at least one family member in denial, and then there's the Richton Park police, who despite the fact that they allegedly knew there was a gun in the house and that Cole had physically abused his wife, took no action against the man.

This is the latest in what seems to us a string of area murders in which the victims were professors or students. There's Peter D'Agostino, a UIC professor who was, apparently randomly, beaten to death in Oak Park. And then UIC student Tombol Malik was beaten to death with a bike lock. And we thought academia was safe. You get in, you do your work--you're not some kind of high-target for psychos (there's a screening process for students, too, after all). And then some crazy shit happens. Admittedly, these victims' affiliations with institutions of higher learning probably had little if anything at all to do with their deaths, but what the hell?

We got to know Velton a bit back in 2002 when we were working for an election campaign in the South Suburbs--she was an uber volunteer and always ready to help out with a good cause. We're sorry for her family's loss. Click here to learn more about preventing domestic violence.

Photo courtesy of