Mom Hopes Guilty Verdict in Abduction Saves Others

Article excerpt

Joyce Tardio finally has hope that the promise she made to her daughter won't be broken again.

It was a promise made at the grave of 15-year-old Julie Angel shortly after her killer, Robert Koppa, was sent away in 1980 for the next 30 years.

Tardio vowed that Koppa would never hurt another person again.

But when Koppa was released just 15 years later, it took just 17 months before he did hurt again. In 1996, he abducted a Bloomingdale teen from a Woodfield Shopping Center parking lot and sexually abused her.

On Tuesday, Cook County Judge Joseph Urso found Koppa, 51, of Palatine Township, guilty on eight counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, aggravated kidnapping and armed violence. He's facing a punishment that could keep him locked away for much of the rest of his life.

"It's about time," said Tardio, who's been following the case as closely as the victim's family. She broke down in tears and hugged the victim's family members after Urso issued his verdict.

Urso rejected the defense claim that Koppa was insane, telling the court he believed the expert medical and psychological witnesses who testified for Koppa were wrong.

Psychiatrist Henry Lahmeyer had testified that undocumented brain injuries - attested to by neuropsychologist Christopher Randolph - had caused Koppa to lose his inhibitions, causing him to suffer from an impulse disorder.

Lahmeyer said Koppa couldn't control his actions, one of the standards defense attorneys had to prove in order to convince Urso that Koppa was insane.

But Lahmeyer was "successfully rebutted," Urso said, by psychiatrist Matthew Markos, who testified for the prosecution.

Markos said Koppa showed no evidence of any disorders that would have affected his ability to know right from wrong, or which would have prevented him from controlling his actions.

Impulse control disorders, Markos testified, would have been marked by a swiftness not seen in Koppa's actions on that July day when he abducted his victim.

After kidnapping the 17-year-old - who'd just completed a work shift at one of the shopping center stores - Koppa drove her in his car to a wooded and isolated area of Wauconda, where he forced her to disrobe and wear formal dresses. …