State Briefs 7/20/09
Grandmother charged with murder in shooting
SPRINGFIELD – First-degree murder charges have been filed against a Springfield grandmother accused of shooting a man in connection with a neighborhood dispute on July 12.
Larry J. Robinson, 48, of Springfield, died at St. John’s Hospital Saturday after being in critical condition for almost a week.
Deborah A. Hickman, 52, also of Springfield, allegedly walked up to Robinson, who along with another neighbor was trying to break up a fight involving Hickman’s grandson, and shot Robinson once in the head with a pistol she pulled from her front pants pocket.
She was previously charged with aggravated battery with a firearm. Hickman appeared in court on the new charges Monday afternoon and had a preliminary hearing set for July 30. She is being held in the Sangamon County Jail on $1 million bond.
The shooting allegedly stemmed from an ongoing dispute between two teenage boys — Hickman’s grandson and the half-brother of Robinson’s son.
A search warrant affidavit says the two boys were fighting in the street in front of Robinson’s home just before 8 p.m. when several other people joined the fray. As Robinson and another neighbor tried to stop the fight, Hickman approached from the east. When she was about 10 feet away, she allegedly pulled a pistol from her pocket, extended her arm and shot Robinson in the forehead from two to three feet away.
Teen parents sentenced for abusing 5-month-old son
PEORIA – Two teenagers were sentenced to seven and a half years in prison Monday for abusing their 5-month-old son.
Michael Luncsford, 15, and Stephanie Barton, 18, of Peoria, were accused of causing several rib fractures, fractures to the infant's leg and bruising. The injuries could have merited the more serious charge of aggravated battery to a child, which carries a mandatory prison sentence of up to 30 years. State law, however, says a person has to be at least 18 to be charged with that offense.
Peoria County Circuit Judge James Shadid seemed to reserve at least some of the blame for the adults with whom the teens lived, saying “but for their failure to help, they might not be sitting here.”
Shadid wondered aloud how the adults who were living in the same house as the young couple didn't know the infant wasn't being properly cared for during a month-long period last fall.
Peoria Journal Star
Woman accused of destroying evidence in son's murder case out on bond
ROCKFORD — A woman accused of destroying evidence in her son’s murder case has bonded out of jail.
Helen F. Jones, 44, was arrested on charges of obstructing justice early Friday, the day after police arrested her son, Omarrian Jones, 24, in connection with the July 8 beating deaths of Reynato Cardino, 77, and Leticia Cardino, 75.
Jail officials said Helen Jones posted $1,000 bail, the standard 10 percent of her $10,000 bond, on Sunday and was released from the Winnebago County Jail.
She is due back in court Aug. 20. Obstructing justice is a Class 4 felony punishable by up to three years in prison, $25,000 in fines and one year of parole.
Omarrian Jones is jailed without bond. He also is due back in court Aug. 20.
Rockford Register Star
American Coal Company lays off 37 in Galatia
GALATIA – The American Coal Company has announced 37 layoffs at the New Era and New Future mines at Galatia. ??Most of the miners were offered employment at the KenAmerican Paradise Mine near Madisonville, Ky., according to a news release Monday from American Coal. ?
“Murray Energy and AmCoal have worked tirelessly to avoid any personnel reductions, notwithstanding the very depressed economy and coal marketplace,” the news release said. “We are pleased to be able to offer most of our employees alternate employment at the nearby KenAmerican Paradise Mine.”
??There are 543 people still employed at American Coal, according to the news release.
Harrisburg Daily Register