94 years for repeat felon who kidnapped Wrigleyville woman at gunpoint in 2017 (Corrected)

CHICAGO — It’s been seven years since prosecutors accused O’Brian Henigan of sexually assaulting a Wrigleyville woman, forcing her into the trunk of her car at gunpoint, and driving her across the city until he crashed into a tree. On Monday, finally, the case came to an end as Judge Michael McHale sentenced Henigan to 94 years in prison.

Henigan, 38, took the case to a jury trial last summer. The panel found him not guilty of criminal sexual assault but convicted him of every other charge: two counts of aggravated kidnapping with a firearm, aggravated vehicular hijacking with a firearm, armed habitual criminal, and armed robbery with a firearm.

McHale handed him 45 years for the kidnapping charge, 22 years for the vehicular hijacking, 21 years for the armed robbery, and six years for the armed habitual criminal count, with the sentences running consecutively. Henigan won’t be eligible for parole until he serves 85% of the time.

On March 9, 2017, Henigan abducted a woman he had never met before at gunpoint as she was opening the door to her home in the 3700 block of North Fremont, prosecutors said. She tried to give him her valuables, hoping that would end the ordeal. It didn’t work.

Henigan forced her into her garage and took away her phone and other items before forcing her into the trunk of her car. Prosecutors claimed that was when he sexually assaulted the woman. With the woman locked in the trunk, he drove to an ATM and withdrew money from her account.

Chicago police located the victim’s car and pursued Henigan until he crashed into a tree. He got away. The victim eventually escaped from the wreckage and sought treatment for her injuries, including a brain bleed, officials said.

O’Brian Henigan (Cook County sheriff’s office, Google)

Investigators focused on Henigan after a facial recognition program identified him as the man seen in surveillance footage using the victim’s credit cards. The woman later picked him out of a photo line-up. Among other pieces of evidence, according to prosecutors, were fingerprints in the woman’s car and the fact that someone had entered Henigan’s home address into a navigation app on the woman’s phone.

During the seven years Henigan spent in Cook County jail, he collected seven separate lewd conduct cases as well as allegations of mob action and battery. Prosecutors dropped all of those.

Authorities in Kansas were seeking Henigan at the time of the kidnapping for armed rape, according to officials. He had fled that state less than two months before the Wrigleyville crime occurred. The status of the Kansas case was not immediately available.

Henigan has been sent to prison in Illinois at least three other times. Most recently, he was convicted of robbing a GameStop in the Wisconsin border town of Antioch, Illinois, in September 2011, according to Lake County records.

When he was arrested for the GameStop robbery, the suburban Daily Herald newspaper reported optimistically that Henigan “faces a mandatory prison sentence of six to 30 years.” In fact, Henigan did receive a six-year sentence. But he also received Illinois’ standard 50% good behavior credit, and he was paroled in 2014.

Before that, Henigan was given a 50% discount off a ten-year prison sentence that he earned in 2006 for attempted aggravated discharge of a firearm in Lake County. He also served only half of a four-year sentence for burglary in Lake County.

Editor’s note: Our story originally stated that McHale sentenced Henigan to 45 years, the longest of the sentences received. However, we have since learned that McHale ordered all of the sentences to run consecutively, a stipulation not noted in clerk of court entries.

About Tim Hecke 252 Articles
Tim Hecke is CWBChicago's managing partner. He started his career at KMOX, the legendary news radio station in St. Louis. From there, he moved on to work at stations in Minneapolis, Chicago, and New York City. Tim went on to build syndicated radio news and content services that served every one of America's 100 largest radio markets. He became CWBChicago's managing partner in 2019. His email address is tim@cwbchicago.com