Nearly two decades ago, reputed west suburban gang member Benjamin Biancofiori was given a stunning second chance after pleading guilty to robbing and beating a Wheaton teenager.
His victim, 16-year-old David Kinkley, became emotionally distraught after the attack and later committed suicide by stepping in front of a train. But even in the face of those horrific circumstances, Kinkley's parents pushed for leniency. Biancofiori, then 18, was given just six months in jail.
The story of the Kinkleys' compassion was told in a 1998 front-page article in the Tribune and featured in a later episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show." But despite his good fortune, Biancofiori didn't straighten his life out. Court records show he amassed a series of arrests in the years after Kinkley's death, culminating with an 18-month stint in prison for a 2011 gun conviction.
Now Biancofiori, 36, has been hit with the most disturbing allegations yet. Earlier this month, federal authorities arrested him on charges of running a lucrative sex trafficking business out of his Naperville town home.
A 33-page criminal complaint contained brutal allegations of violence, including vicious beatings, death threats and forced food and sleep deprivation, that Biancofiori used to keep in line the women he was trafficking.