Former state employee sentenced in child porn case
SPRINGFIELD – A former Illinois Emergency Management Services employee was sentenced to 14 years in prison Monday for possessing and distributing child pornography on his work computer.
Keith E. Chambers, 48, of Petersburg, also was ordered by U.S. District Judge Jeanne Scott to remain on supervised release for life once his federal prison sentence ends.
According to details of the government investigation presented at his plea hearing, Chambers distributed about 20 images of child pornography via the Internet on Feb. 12.
Sheley found fit to stand trial
GALESBURG — A man accused of murdering a Galesburg man as part of a two-state killing spree was found fit to stand trial Monday.
In a hearing in Knox County Circuit Court, Ninth Circuit Judge James Stewart heard no arguments from the state or defense counsel about the competency of Nicholas Sheley to stand trial. Both sides concurred with a court-ordered fitness evaluation and an independent evaluation that concluded Sheley was fit to stand trial and Stewart agreed.
Co-defense attorney Jeremy Karlin then asked the court to address Sheley’s hand-written motion dated Sept 19. In that sealed motion, Sheley raised questions about the effectiveness of his attorneys, Karlin and James Harrell.
In a prepared response to Sheley’s motion, Karlin alleged Sheley is unable to intelligently waive his right to counsel. That conclusion was based on an independent evaluation conducted by Robert Hanlon, a clinical neuropsychologist in Chicago and assistant professor at Northwestern University, which Karlin also introduced as an exhibit.
Stewart also said an additional attorney should be appointed to present case law to Sheley so he can make a decision about representing himself without his perceived conflicting interests of his attorneys.
Trial delayed for couple accused of starving baby
PEORIA — The trial for a couple accused of starving their five-month-old baby to death last winter was pushed back until late April and early May.
Peoria County Circuit Judge James Shadid also granted a motion to sever the case, meaning Tracy Hermann and James Sargent will be tried separately. Sargent, 24, will go first with an April 27 trial date; Hermann, 22, will be tried on May 5.
The judge also granted a request by Hermann’s attorney, Thomas Penn Jr., to have his client’s mental health examined by a forensic psychiatrist. Such a check was already done on Sargent and produced a 60-page report that showed signs of borderline personality disorder.
Sargent and Hermann were charged in February with first-degree murder in the death of Benjamin Sargent. Their son died after going without food or water for eight days. He was found in his car seat, wearing the snowsuit he had on when he was dropped off at the house.
Peoria Journal Star
Springfield police officer crashes into house during chase
SPRINGFIELD – A police officer crashed his squad car into a house while chasing a man he saw shooting at another house Saturday.
Investigators recovered shell casings from the shooting, which happened about 5:20 a.m. No one was injured, although the house was struck by bullets.
The officer, 27-year-old Tim Zajicek, saw the alleged shooter in a black Chevrolet Malibu and began following it, a police report states. When Zajicek tried to stop the car, it sped away “at a high rate of speed, disregarding all traffic control signs and signals.”
While following the car, Zajicek’s car slid on a patch of ice through and intersection. His vehicle struck the curb, continued in a yard and struck an unattached single-car garage before crashing into the east side of a house.
Zajicek was not injured, although he was taken to St. John’s Hospital as a precautionary matter. He was not cited. No arrests have been made in connection with the shooting.