Crime & Courts | My Suburban Life

Man gets 8 years for escaping jail furlough while attending his brother’s funeral

A man given furlough to attend his brother’s funeral was sentenced Tuesday to eight years in prison for cutting off the GPS monitor and disappearing for 11 days.

“You took advantage of this court’s benevolence,” DuPage County Judge Michael Riedy told Bruce Berrier, 23, of Villa Park.

Berrier was in the DuPage County jail in January, awaiting transfer to prison on a 10-year sentence for gunrunning. He asked for permission to attend his brother’s funeral. Riedy agreed, allowing him to leave the jail from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Jan. 11.

But Berrier cut through the fiber-optic strap of the monitor at 1:27 p.m. that day and threw it on the ground near Arlington Cemetery in Elmhurst. He was arrested Jan. 22 at a Jewel-Osco store in Glendale Heights.

He pleaded guilty to escaping a penal institution and was also found guilty of indirect criminal contempt of court.

Berrier apologized in court, telling Riedy, “I just lost all conscious thought” at the cemetery, overcome by the memory of last seeing his brother at Berrier’s sentencing hearing on the gunrunning case the month before. “My intention wasn’t to keep running.”

Senior Assistant Public Defender Kishtori Tank said Berrier was afraid to turn himself in without having a lawyer accompany him.

Riedy didn’t buy it. “If he really wanted to turn himself in, he would have,” the judge said.

The judge also took into account Berrier’s criminal history. Berrier was on parole for a 2015 case where he shot a gun, injuring two people, when he was arrested on the gunrunning charges in 2020.

Berrier will have to serve at least 75% of his gunrunning sentence, followed by at least 50% of his escape sentence, before being eligible for parole.